Help Protect Yourself From Wire Fraud

Real estate wire fraud is real.
Learn how to be WireSafe.

What is a wire?

A wire, or wire transfer, is an electronic transfer of money across a network from one bank or credit union to another. With a wire, no physical money moves between bank locations, but people or entities are able to “wire” money to another person or entity as long as they have a bank account. Wires are typically used in most real estate transactions because funds are received more quickly (usually the same day), and there are no holds placed on the money once received.

What is wire fraud?

Wire fraud typically involves a hacker gaining access to an email account and posing as a trusted party involved in your real estate transaction. This could be someone pretending to be your real estate agent, loan officer, title agent, or even an attorney. Once the hacker has access to a trusted email account, the hacker sends an email from that account or from a similar account that looks “almost” the same as one of the parties in the transaction – with information related to your transaction, including wire instructions for your closing funds. If you react to that email, your funds are sent to an account controlled by the hacker in some manner. Once receipt of the money is confirmed, the hacker immediately withdrawals your funds from that account using multiple transfers to accounts normally outside the United States. Once these transfers occur, the likelihood of recovery is small, if at all.

What are wire instructions?

Best-Practice Tip:

For added security, we only send wire instructions through our encrypted system using two-factor authentication.

Wire instructions are the directions you follow when sending money electronically to another person or entity. In the case of your home purchase, the funds are typically sent to your settlement agent. Wire instructions typically include:

  • Bank Name and Address
  • Bank ABA Number
  • Bank Account Number
  • Account Holder’s Name
  • Reference Information (in real estate transactions, this is usually a file number)

There are steps you can take to help protect yourself.

Wire fraud is real and home buyers and sellers are the biggest targets. For this reason, we have developed the WireSafe program to help educate customerson wire fraud. Be WireSafe by following these 4 steps every time.

Confirm all wiring instructions, including specific banking information, by phone before transferring funds. Use the phone number for your closing agent/escrow officer provided on their website or from a business card. Never rely on phone numbers in email communications.

It’s not common for title companies to change wiring instructions and payment information.

Ask your bank to confirm the account number and the name on the account before sending any wire.

Call your closing agent/escrow officer to confirm the funds were received.

Remember to inquire before you wire. Be WireSafe.

Were you the target of wire fraud?

If you think you may have been the victim of wire fraud, here are some steps you must take. Time is of the essence – every second and minute counts. Contact banks, transaction parties, and law enforcement immediately upon discovery.

Immediately call your bank

  • Ask them to issue a recall notice due to fraud for your wire
  • Ask them to reach out to the receiving bank’s fraud department to:
    • Notify them of the recall due to fraud
    • Ask for a freeze on the account involved

Report the crime to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

Report the crime to Law Enforcement

Escrow Signing out of the Country by a Member of the Military

Commanding Officer as Notary

Settlement agents often close transactions involving principals who may be actively serving in the United States Military and stationed abroad. The principal’s commanding officer can act as the notary. The form acknowledgment is not one created by the settlement agent, instead it is created and attached by the commanding officer.

Sample Acknowledgement

Below is a sample acknowledgment used to acknowledge the signature of a member of military. Notice it does not have a notary seal. That is perfectly acceptable and it will not be rejected by the recorder’s office for recordation. All recorder’s offices have samples of acceptable acknowledgments, including the below sample military acknowledgment.

Sample form of Military Acknowledgement
This article was originally published in Fraud Insights.

Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act – FAQs

In March of 2018, Governor Inslee signed the Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (WUCIOA) and it took effect on July 1, 2018. The bill created a new chapter in the Revised Code of Washington that governs the formation, management, and termination of condos, co-ops, and planned communities (Common Interest Communities or “CICs”). Below is a summary of the who, what, when, where, and why of the act.

Who does the act apply to?

All new common interest communities meeting minimum requirements, or existing communities who “opt in” by amending existing CCRs.

What does the act do?

  • Applies to the Formation, Management and Termination of “Common Interest Communities” (CIC)
  • Affects how new CICs are created in Declaration of CCRs and Map
  • Existing HOAs and Condos may Opt-In by Amendment
  • Affects new Construction Sale of Units by requirement of Public Offering Statement
  • Affects Re-sales of Units by requirement of Resale Certificates
  • Form 22CIC must be completed on MLS Purchase and Sale Agreements for properties that are CICs
  • Typically any new Plat or Condo which has 13 or more “Units/ Lots” and bills dues over $300 annually

When did the act take effect?

Effective July 1, 2018

Where does the act apply?

Washington State

Why was the act created?

  • To create standardization of certain aspects of CCR’s/ HOA’s/ COA’s, in connection to individual units of real estate which share Common Interest Areas.
  • To promote transparency in Boards and standardized access for Owners to Board meetings and information.
  • To Standardize Notice of Meetings of Board and to extend collections on unpaid dues to 6 years recovery.
  • To Provide ample information to new Buyers with Public Offering Statements and Re-Sale Certificates, with mandatory time to review before purchasing Unit.
  • To provide Associations with simplified remedies to revise outdated CCRs.

Questions on your transaction?

Call Ticor Title Company for clarification on how WUCIOA impacts the Title in your transaction.

Ticor Title Officers/branches

Randi Elliott – Title Officer 253-393-9812
Mike Wilson – Title Officer 253-765-7258
Charie Winburn – Title Officer 425-586-6969
Christina Hughes – Title Officer 425-434-4005
Georgia Hallett – Sr Title Officer 425-586-6966
Danny Osborn – Title Officer 253-904-1144
Reid Vance – Title Manager 206-393-0921
Sean Barragan – Title Officer 253-904-1150
Adrienne Kerbs – Title Officer 509-742-5310
Matt Buster – Title Officer 509-742-5306

Pre-Closing Checklist for Home Sellers

Our team of experts are committed to providing home sellers with clear communication, consistency, and personalized service throughout the escrow process. But the exciting process of selling a home involves so much more for the homeowner. The checklist below can help reduce stress and organize the selling process for our valued clients.

Immediately Upon Acceptance Of The Contract

  • Follow-up on any terms specified in the contract (clearance letters, providing homeowner association paperwork, etc.)
  • Make any repairs specified in the contract
  • Provide the current mortgage loan(s) information and/or equity line of credit information to your agent (this should include your account numbers, contact information for the lender(s) and your personal information)

Deliver The Following To Your Escrow Officer

  • Your forwarding address
  • Any existing payoff information
  • Identify leased equipment
  • Homeowner Association information
  • Utilities (if they are to be paid out of escrow)
  • Judgment/Liens
  • Any name changes since vesting

During The Home Inspection

  • You should not be onsite during the inspection, but your real estate agent may be there as your representative
  • If possible, be accessible by phone to answer any questions
  • Provide your agent with keys to any areas (crawlspaces, attics, detached buildings, etc) that the inspector will need to access
  • If the property is currently vacant, ensure that all utilities are on prior to the inspection

One To Two Weeks Following The Acceptance Date Of The Contract

  • Review any inspection amendment from the buyer with your agent and begin making agreed repairs
  • Make arrangements for a moving truck or schedule your moving service
  • Provide your agent with your preferred closing time

Two Weeks Before Closing Date

  • Go to to change your address online or get a change of address package from the post office.
  • Begin notifying family, friends, debtors, etc of address change
  • Begin collecting information to pass on to the new owner (receipts for appliances, warranty information, owner’s manuals, repair and contractor contact information and dates of service)

One Week Before Closing

  • Call your utility companies to schedule the final readings and disconnect dates
  • Get directions to escrow office from your real estate agent or determine location for a mobile escrow signing
  • Organize receipts and information in relation to the work done to satisfy the inspection amendment. Provide copies to your real estate agent

Day Before Signing Appointment

  • Review the preliminary Settlement Statement to verify that the terms of the contract are correct and pay special attention to the line items for water bills, homeowner association dues, and mortgage balances
  • If you have any concerns, discuss them with your agent
  • If there is a chance of any dispute, your agent may advise you to bring proof of payment to the closing

Day Of Signing

  • Have two pieces of valid ID (one being photo ID) available at your signing appointment: Driver’s License, State ID, Passport, or Green Card
  • If funds are required to close, be prepared to bring the monies in the form of a cashier’s check or wire transfer. These funds need to be received by the Escrow office 24 hours in advance of the recording/closing date indicated on your Purchase and Sale Agreement.
  • Give the new owner your forwarding address and phone number in case anything is accidentally sent to you at the old address

Strong Commercial Business Drives Third Quarter Performance

Ticor Title is a member of the Fidelity National Financial family of companies and the nation’s largest group of title companies and title insurance underwriters that collectively issue more title insurance policies than any other title company in the United States.

Title Operation Performance

Our title business finished the third quarter of 2018 with solid results, as we generated adjusted pre-tax title earnings of $297 million, and an adjusted pre-tax title margin of 15.6%. Our adjusted pre-tax title earnings represented a $10 million, or 3.5%, growth over the third quarter of 2017.

Commercial Real Estate Overview

Our commercial operations continued their solid performance with third quarter total commercial revenue of $271 million, an 8% increase over the third quarter of 2017. This was driven by a 16% increase in total commercial fee per file, offset by a 7% decrease in closed commercial orders. Third quarter total commercial orders opened increased by 1% compared to the prior year.

Residential Real Estate Overview

Residential purchase opened orders increased by .3% and closed orders decreased by 1% in the third quarter versus the same quarter of 2017. In addition, the mix of business trend towards purchase transactions was sustained in the third quarter, with purchase business accounting for 69% of opened and 71% of closed orders.

Strong Focus on Metrics into Fourth Quarter

Moving into the seasonally slower fourth quarter of 2018, we remain focused on our operating metrics and executing our business plans to maximize our profitability and strive to remain the most profitable title insurance company in the nation.

How to Read a Title Commitment

How to Read a Title Commitment

What is a Title Commitment?

A Title Commitment (also known as a Preliminary Report in some areas) is a dated formal report that sets out in detail the conditions under which a policy of title insurance would be issued on a particular parcel of land. Its sole purpose is to facilitate the issuance of the policy.

Within a short time after a title order has been opened, the matters of record relative to the issuance of the title insurance policy on the subject property have been assembled in the title search and examined by skilled technicians. This is the time when the Title Commitment is prepared and sent to the customer.

The report reflects the matters which would be shown as exceptions in a policy of the title insurance so that the parties to the transaction will be aware of any of those matters of record that may need to be cleared prior to the closing of the transaction. This report is issued before the title policy—hence the name Title Commitment.

Download & Print

Download a printable PDF:
How to Read a Title Commitment

Those matters shown in the report are as follows:

  1. The estate or interest covered.
  2. The record owner of the estate or interest.
  3. A legal description of the parcel of land covered.
  4. Requirements and Notes
  5. The easements, liens, encumbrances and other matters which affect the title to the land at the date and time of the report.

Members of the Washington Land Title Association (WLTA) use the type of report explained on the eBook below. The investigation of title is normally limited to the public record, with no reference to off record matters. All references to specific property, dollar amounts, documents, and individual and corporate identification are fictional and for the purpose of educational sample only.

A Guide to Reading the Title Commitment

How To Read A Title Commitment

Strong First Half Solidifies 2018 Momentum

Strong First Half

Ticor Title is a member of the Fidelity National Financial family of companies and the nation’s largest group of title companies and title insurance underwriters – Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title, Commonwealth Land Title, Alamo Title and National Title of New York – that collectively issue more title insurance policies than any other title company in the United States.

Title Operation Performance

Our title business finished the first half of 2018 with outstanding results, as we generated second quarter adjusted pre-tax title earnings of $338 million, and an adjusted pre-tax title margin of 17.1%, the best quarterly performance in both metrics in 15 years. Our adjusted pre-tax title earnings represented a $28 million growth over the second quarter of 2017.

Download Ticor Title Mid-Year Fact Sheet

Commercial Real Estate Overview

Our commercial operations continued their solid performance with second quarter total commercial revenue of $276 million, a 6% increase over the second quarter of 2017. This was driven by a 4% increase in closed commercial orders and a 1% increase in total commercial fee per file. A 7% increase in total commercial opened orders bodes well for commercial business over the next several quarters.

Residential Real Estate Overview

Fidelity National Title Group purchase opened and closed orders increased by 3% and 2%, respectively, in the second quarter versus the same quarter of 2017. In addition, the mix of business trend towards purchase transactions in the second quarter rose sharply, with purchase business accounting for 71% of both opened and closed orders

Strong First Half Solidifies 2018 Momentum

Moving into the second half of 2018, we remain focused on executing our business plans and striving to remain the most profitable title insurance company in the nation.

Excludes Discontinued Operations. All Figures in US dollars. Source: FNF 10-Q
**”FORTUNE®” and “FORTUNE 500®” are registered trademarks of Time Inc.
Time Inc. is not affiliated with, and does not endorse the products and services of Fidelity National Financial, its subsidiaries, or affiliates.

4 Steps to Preventing Wire Fraud

four steps to prevent wire fraud

Buyers and Sellers are Targets for Fraud

Warning! Wire fraud is real and home buyers and sellers are one of the biggest targets.

Scams to divert funds via wire transfer are widespread. Home buyers and sellers are experiencing multiple attempts to divert their entire life savings every day and we want to make sure they do not fall prey to any scam. Fraudsters target home buyers via email to trick them into sending a wire for their down payment and closing costs to the fraudster’s bank account, instead of the title company. The money is then siphoned out of the account and transferred out of the country.

Four Steps to Avoiding Fraud

Don’t be a victim. Below are four steps to avoid falling prey to wire fraud scams:

Four Ways to Prevent Wire Fraud

Call, don’t email:

Confirm all wiring instructions by phone before transferring funds. Use a trusted phone number from the title company’s website or a business card.

Be suspicious:

It’s not common for title companies to change wiring instructions and payment info.

Confirm it all:

Ask your bank to confirm not just the account number but also the name on the account before sending a wire.

Verify immediately:

Call the title company to confirm the funds were received.

Additional Wire Fraud Prevention Tips

Protect Yourself and Your Clients From Wire Fraud
True Story: Escrow Team Prevents Diverted Payoff Wires

We Remember and Honor Our Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day

Memorial Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect, remember, and honor the American soldiers who have died during active duty. Here are some ways to honor our fallen heroes:

Visit a Cemetery or Memorial

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries.

Pause at 3PM

A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

Flying the Flag at Half Staff

On Memorial Day, the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon only, then raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset, in honor of the nation’s battle heroes.

Wear a Flower of Remembrance

Following the events of WWI, The VFW adopted the poppy as its official memorial flower in 1922. Read the story here.

Provide Financial Support for Families of the Fallen

If you are inclined to give, the USO and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) provide financial and emotional support to bereaved spouses and children of troops who have died serving their country.

However you choose to observe Memorial Day, we would like to wish you good health and happiness in the company of loved ones.

Pocket Profile – New Interactive Map Search Feature

Property Profile App - Pocket Profile
We are pleased to announce the latest generation of the Ticor Pocket Profile App with major updates designed for time savings and intuitive & interactive map search functionality.
Simply tap the map to retrieve a property profile!

Find Pocket Profile in Your App Store

Search “Pocket Profile” to find it in your Apple or Android app store.
Get Pocket Profile for iOS
Get Pocket Profile for Android

Improved Search Capabilities

Robust Search Capabilities:

  • Search by property address
  • Search by APN
  • Search by property owner
  • Take a photo search
  • Interactive map search
  • Access your past profile searches
  • Contact your Ticor Title Sales Executive
  • Email a property profile

Tap the Map to Search

The interactive map search makes researching adjacent or nearby properties easy! Click any property within view to access basic information or a complete property profile. Move or zoom the map to explore and search.

Easy Access to Recent Searches

Save time accessing previous searches with the “Recent Searches” feature. Properties that you last searched are available in one click.

How to Get an Account

The Pocket Profile app is connected to the website and uses the same username and password. If you already have a account, you’re ready to go. If you are a new user, please contact your Ticor Title Sales Executive for exclusive access to this powerful time-saving research tool!