It was a very enlightening morning at the RAFV DR Breakfast held at Eaglebrook Country Club on Thursday, September 22nd.
We had an informational presentation from our sponsors, Crown Highland Woods and our keynote speakers were two Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). They discussed mortgage fraud, white collar crime and REALTOR® Safety.
Below are the high points of the discussion.
- Illinois is the 3rd highest state for mortgage fraud. This is mainly due to the high number of foreclosures. An increase in foreclosures directly correlates to an increase in fraud.
- Perpetrators are usually industry insiders because they are familiar with the business, the processes and can identify weak spots in the system. It’s not hard to do…everything is online to duplicate.
How to Prevent Fraud:
- Follow the Money.
- Think about who can profit from this transaction, and pay attention to those people
- Look at insiders on the transaction…can you think of anyone who might bend the rules?
- Increase your awareness during hard financial times. That is when most crimes occur.
- Don’t Get Comfortable In Existing Relationships.
- Always question the process
- Don’t skip checks, audits or inspections just because you “know” the person.
- Beware of Commonality.
- If someone you work with is consistently using the same business partner for every transaction they do…that is suspicious.
- You should vary your reference list, spread the work around. It keeps people honest and on their toes.
- Know What You Are Signing.
- Look at the fine print. That is where most fraud happens, with the transposing of a number or letter.
- Don’t sign contracts as a favor to a friend. You are liable for that contract!
- Ask Questions.
- Get credentials, know the history of your references and business partners.
- Think about WHY they want something they have requested.
- Verify the Paper.
- False documents are so easy to duplicate and falsify. Check, double-check and recheck the validity of the document!
How to Protect your Computer:
- Update Anti-Virus frequently
- Turn your computer off at least once a week
- Verify information received with sender’s address
- Check to make sure that emails you received are actually from the person you think they are. Often times a phony email address is one letter off. (Ex: [email protected] instead of [email protected])
- Look for emails with poor grammar or mis-spellings.
- NEVER FOLLOW LAST MINUTE INSTRUCTIONS FOR WIRE TRANSFERS!!!
- Verbalize your money transfer instructions vs. email.
- Do not point and click on any links if you are not familiar with the source and have verified it.
If you have any information on any suspected fraudulent activity – contact the FBI at www.ic3.gov
Also, thank you to Highland Woods, our sponsor!