Leading U.S. title insurer may have exposed millions of client records
First American Financial Corp., one of the largest U.S. title insurers, may have allowed unauthorized access to more than 885 million records related to mortgage deals going back to 2003, according to a security researcher.
Understanding The First American Financial Data Leak: How Did It Happen?
When a data leak like this occurs, it can be hard to tell just how severe it is. Without question, it's a troubling occurrence and does not inspire confidence in First American's capabilities to protect customer data. What makes it challenging to fully understand how widespread the effect of this leak is the fact that this information simply sat exposed online.
Hack Brief: 885 Million Sensitive Financial Records Exposed Online
Krebs reports that the exposed records included Social Security numbers, driver's license images, bank account numbers and statements, mortgage and tax documents, and wire transaction receipts—an absolute treasure trove for any scammer or identity thief.
Security Gap Leaves 885 Million Mortgage Documents Exposed
First American Financial Corporation, a provider of title insurance, said Friday that it had fixed a vulnerability in its website that exposed 885 million records related to mortgage deals going back 16 years. The vulnerability would have allowed anyone to gain access to Social Security numbers, bank account details, drivers license and mortgage and tax records.
Don’t Get Scammed Out of Your Home
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Daniel Kinney says that in the “Home Title Fraud” Scam, the crooks impersonate the homeowner so they can refinance or sell the victim’s property for their own benefit. They first obtain the homeowner’s personal information through identity theft or by stealing mail.
Milton man indicted for Forsyth County forgery accusations
Documents filed in Forsyth County Superior Court on April 8, state that David Potskhveracvili, 50, of Milton has been indicted by a grand jury for two charges of, “unlawful act in connection with registration of title to land” for allegedly forging documents and transferring ownership of two west Forsyth residences to himself by a quit claim deed on Oct. 12, 2017.
After a mass theft of Philly houses, foreign nationals flee the country
After allegedly stealing nearly two dozen properties in Philadelphia, three foreign nationals appear to have fled the country with their profits, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office says. Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Esack said the three men stole the houses with forged deeds between April 2017 and June 2018.
Two Long Island men charged with trying to steal homes from lawful owners
Two Long Island men were indicted Thursday on charges of trying to steal two homes from property owners in Brooklyn and Queens, state Attorney General Letitia James said. One of the homes is on 95th Street in Brownsville, Brooklyn; the other is on 138th Avenue in Laurelton, Queens, she said, announcing the duo had been indicted on charges of grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.
Philly DA charges Point Breeze man with stealing properties from the dead
Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has accused a 50-year-old man of using forged deeds and notary stamps to steal six properties in the city’s booming Point Breeze neighborhood. Housing theft has grown as more neighborhoods have gentrified. The city Records Department logged 136 complaints of deed fraud last year, nearly doubling from the previous year.
Stolen Homes: A Philadelphia Housing Scam on the Rise Prompts Crackdown
The NBC10 Investigators take a look at a scam that's targeting Philadelphia property owners. Curtis Simmons still remembers the place his grandfather lived until his death in 2002: a small building he owned in the Graduate Hospital section of Philadelphia that held a modest apartment a garage workshop.
Large breach of mortgage borrowers’ data raises new concerns, questions
A large breach of mortgage data that has exposed the personal financial information of tens of thousands of borrowers raises key consumer questions: What happens to all those disclosures we make after we apply for and obtain a home loan — our tax returns, Social Security numbers, credit card accounts, bank account numbers and detailed summaries of our assets?
Millions of bank loan and mortgage documents have leaked online
A trove of more than 24 million financial and banking documents, representing tens of thousands of loans and mortgages from some of the biggest banks in the U.S., has been found online after a server security lapse. The database wasn’t protected with a password, allowing anyone to access and read the massive cache of documents.
Deed To 85-Year-Old Man's Brooklyn Home Allegedly Stolen By Crooked Caretaker
A man hired to help care for his elderly diabetic neighbor has been indicted for allegedly stealing and trying to sell the senior citizen's East New York home. Jordan Horsford, 29, was indicted on Wednesday on 12 counts, including grand larceny and identity theft.
Kansas legal loophole lets prison lifer file deeds claiming Joyland Amusement Park and a Greyhound Station
A loophole in Kansas law has allowed a murderer serving a life sentence to file bogus deeds, claiming ownership of properties including the defunct Joyland amusement park, the former Greyhound bus station and the Wellness Center veterans home, Sedgwick County officials said. And there’s little anyone can do about it.
Thieves Can Now Nab Your Data in a Few Minutes for a Few Bucks
‘If someone wants to find my Social Security number, it will take them exactly $3 and five minutes,’ a data security specialist said. So much stolen data is available on the dark web, people shouldn’t worry whether their information has been swiped...Every American person should assume all of their data is out there.
Deed Theft Threatens Brooklyn Homeowners, Politicians Say
Hundreds of Brooklynites have been the victims of deed theft and potentially illegal evictions that rob them of their homes, according to local politicians who are demanding a federal investigation. Deed fraud and mortgage foreclosures have reached a crisis moment in Brooklyn. We must do more to ensure that bad actors and government programs are not forcing seniors and low-income residents out of their homes.
Home title fraud: How it's done and how to protect yourself
In 2008 when title theft was still uncommon, the FBI posted a notice about this house stealing scam, telling homeowners what to watch out for. A few years later in 2012, the California Department of Real Estate issued a consumer alert about the rising number of fraudulent property deeds and noted that the county recorder is not responsible...
Phoenix man pleads guilty in real estate scam, claimed title of Phoenix-area homes
A Phoenix man has plead guilty to fraud and money laundering in a real estate scam that involved claiming title to Valley residents' homes. Daniel Barraza Nevarez filed quitclaim deeds illegally transferring ownership in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Phoenix homes between November 2017 and February 2018, according to the Arizona Attorney General's Office.
Has A Fraudulent Deed Been Recorded Against Your Property?
CONSUMER ALERT: What Should You Do If You Learn that a Forged and/or Fraudulent Deed Has Been Recorded Against Your Real Property? By Wayne S. Bell (Chief Counsel) and Summer B. Bakotich (Special Investigator) - California Department of Real Estate In the current economic climate, criminal fraud related to real property deeds appears to be.
Gilbert man indicted on real estate fraud, cost victims over $6.3 million
Jon Richard Rattray of Gilbert has been indicted for fraud, money laundering, identity theft and forgery. He's suspected of taking out multiple mortgages on metro Phoenix homes to tap their equity and then filing documents to hide the loans. The owner of Hawkeye Real Estate Services LLC would then take out more loans on the homes or sell them to buyers...
A Philadelphia story: Falsely declared dead, home stolen and no one will help
Three years ago, Tonya Bell went to City Hall and discovered that she was dead. And that her house had been stolen. She learned these things when she looked at the deed for a property she owned in Germantown. In the deed, she had been declared dead by a man she had never heard of. He had named himself her sole heir and taken ownership of her house for $1.
Florida Man Pleads Guilty in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Drew J. Breakspear, Commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation, announce that Karl Oreste, 56, of Miramar, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr.,...
More Than $1 Million In Real Estate Stolen from Rightful Owners
Inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) arrested Norris Lynn Fisher, 62, on a mail fraud charge, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Fisher was arrested at his home in Fort Worth, without incident, and appeared before U.S. Magistrate...
5 Arrested for Housing Scheme Using Adverse Possession
Sandra Elaine Barton, 30, Fresno, California, Christopher Spencer Barton, 31, Fresno, California, Daniel Paul Vedenoff, 29, Fresno, California, Sheldon W. Feigel, 50, Fresno, California, and Craig Merrill Mortensen, Fresno, California, were arrested and charged with 288 felony counts including perjury, filing false court records and preparing false evidence. The five individuals arrested were booked into...
Consumers Warned of Forged and Fraudulent Property Deeds
SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) issued a Consumer Alert last week about the growing number of scams that involve forged or fraudulent property deeds and what consumers can do to protect themselves against such fraud. The DRE is a state department whose mission is to protect the public interests in real estate...
Ringleader of Foreclosure Scam Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison
In 2013, Head was convicted in two jury trials of two conspiracies to commit mail fraud in connection with nationwide "foreclosure rescue" scams. He was also convicted of seven counts of mail fraud. According to evidence presented at trial and at his sentencing hearing, Head was the CEO of a group of brokerage and financial companies in Orange County and Los Angeles County: Head Financial Services, Creative Loans, and others.
County Recorders Can Unwittingly Accept Fraudulent Property Documents
One of the growing concerns for county recorders throughout the United States is the increase in property fraud. To prove the point about how easy it is to perpetrate this kind of property fraud, the Daily News in New York stole the Empire State Building as a prank last December. They did return it.
Felon Behind Lien Scam Gets 10 Years in Colorado Prison
A felon who stuck more than a thousand homeowners in Arizona and California with bogus liens as part of a credit-collection scam has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. How Jeff McCoon ended up behind bars has less to do with the liens he filed than a set of circumstances that took seven years to...
Dirty Deeds: NBC Shows How Loophole Could Cost You Your Home
NBC 5's Lisa Parker gets at the heart of the problem with property and recording fraud: criminals and bad actors abusing the open recording system and a collective sense of honesty on which we all rely. Because homeowner's can't "freeze" their property titles and because County Recorders aren't allowed by law to verify legal claims...
Your Title Information is PUBLIC RECORD
All a thief needs to steal your home is your street address and the name on your title, both of which are public record. A thief can simply go online or visit your County Recorder’s office, pay a few dollars, and legally obtain a copy of your deed.
It’s Easier Than Stealing a Car (& More Profitable)
Thieves can borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars against your property without leaving the comfort of their home. They simply utilize many county recorder’s online document retrieval and recording systems, and digitally record a forged deed transfer. Then, they takes out loans against your home, and disappear.
Seniors Are Often Longtime Homeowners
Thieves seek the money a home’s equity can provide via loans. Homes owned as little as five years have built considerable equity. The elderly may have owned their homes for decades, making their equity laden homes prime targets for thieves.
Seniors Often Own Their Home Free & Clear
As seniors tend to be longtime homeowners, many own their titles free & clear. Thieves seek homes owned free & clear due to their substantial equity. The more equity in a home, the more loans a thief can take out. Homes higher in equity are more desirable because a thief can take out tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans.
High Equity Means More Money
The more equity in a home, the more loans a thief can take out. Homes higher in equity are more desirable because a thief can take out tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans.
Homeowners Are Less Likely to Notice
Homeowners without a mortgage are less likely to notice small warning signs of deed theft. For instance, they may receive a past due notice in the mail and simply recycle it, not realizing that it’s from a legitimate bank who has financial interest in the property due to the fraudulent loans. Then, after ignoring the past due notice, that owner will potentially face foreclosure or even eviction.
Vacation Properties & Second Homes Make Great Targets
Vacation Properties and second homes often sit vacant for long periods of time. Thieves can sell the property or take out loans, knowing the rightful owners will not find out for weeks, months, or even a year.
Renters Have Immediate Access to the Property
Rental properties are at an increased risk as renters have direct access to the information needed to sell the home. These properties are often left unsupervised for extended periods of time, leaving a thief ample time to take out loans and disappear.
Care Takers Have Full Access to Information
An in-home or outpatient elderly care professional has easy access to the information needed to steal a home. They can simply file a forged deed transfer, adding them to the title and, when the elderly parent or family member passes, the title passes in full to them. And it’s difficult to prove otherwise.
Ideal Prey for Untrustworthy Family Members
Like a healthcare professional, an untrustworthy family member may also have access to all the information needed to steal a home. They simple file a forged deed transfer, adding themselves to the title of the property, wait for the elderly family member to pass away, and take full ownership of the home.
Real Estate Agents
Home Title Lock can offer your clients peace of mind. While homeowners buy title insurance when they purchase a home, it only protects them until they close escrow. Going forward, they are vulnerable to title fraud. Help protect your clients with Home Title Lock.
Lending money is already a risky business. Let Home Title Lock help minimize your risk by letting you know exactly who is on the title of your investment, when any changes are made on your investment, and if any changes are made without your consent or knowledge).
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