Sunday, 09 August, 2020

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COVID-19 pandemic increases opportunities for real estate fraud – Black Knight


Black Knight has announced that its iOnTitle product can help avoid fraudulent transactions from taking place while county recorder offices are closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The impact of COVID-19 has, among other things, provided increased opportunities for those looking to commit real estate fraud, said Lisa Roessler, vice president of title strategy and business development for Black Knight.

“The unfortunate reality is that criminals seek out weaknesses to exploit in order to execute their schemes,” Roessler said. “Today, many county recorder offices have been forced to close for an indeterminate length of time in response to stay-at-home orders resulting from COVID-19. Sadly, this creates a sizable opportunity for those who would seek to commit real estate fraud in the midst of this confusion. Any delay in the public recordation of a real estate transaction creates a period where multiple title orders – for multiple mortgages – can be initiated on a single property. If funds are transferred before this activity is detected, losses could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per incident.”

Black Knight’s iOnTitle continuously monitors the chain of title on a property from the time an order is initiated through the post-closing period. If another order is identified before close, title agents using Black Knight’s TitlePoint and iOnTitle are immediately notified.

“This allows real estate transactions to continue with confidence, until stay-at-home orders are lifted and county recorder offices can open again,” Black Knight said.

“iOnTitle is an important tool to help prevent fraud at any time,” Roessler said. “But today’s circumstances make the insight this solution provides more critical than ever. The conditions are ripe for fraudulent real estate activity, and title agents and those they serve must be armed to defend against such activity. When ‘blind’ closings are an ever-increasing possibility, it is crucial that title agents have a clear view into any orders placed on a property, before, at and beyond closing.”