One of the central duties of a title company is to handle all funds that come in and out regarding a transaction. So with fraud on the rise, it’s a wise consumer that knows their money will be safe with the title company they choose.
Fraud in the banking industry is particularly frightening these days. Thieves have gotten much bolder and technologically savvy, forcing business owners – and consumers – to be even more careful with their private and sensitive information. As a matter of fact, fraud directly relating to checks and wires is on the rise and becoming a real headache for banks and title companies.
Frank W. Abagnale Jr., the former con artist now working with the FBI as a corporate cybercrime consultant, was recently in Portland to raise awareness about scams and fraud. Abagnale is well acquainted with methods used by fraudsters and counterfeiters from personal experience. His early exploits as a con artist were portrayed on screen by Leonardo DiCaprio as a young Abagnale in "Catch Me if You Can," with Tom Hanks as the FBI agent after him.
Abagnale now shares his thoughts on how business owners – and thus, their clientele - can protect themselves from being duped.
Abagnale suggests the use of secure positive pay, checks, and micro-cut shredding. Positive pay is a service that matches the account number, check number, and dollar amount of each check presented for payment, against a list of checks that have previously been authorized and issued by the business. All three of these check components must match exactly, or the bank will not pay out on the check when it is presented.
Each day, the business will send a file of issued checks to the bank. When those checks are presented for payment at the bank, they are compared electronically against the list of transmitted checks. If a check is presented that does not have a “match” in the file sent from the business, the bank will then send us an image of the check that is attempting to be cashed, so that it can be reviewed and then either instruct the bank to pay it or not.
Secure checks have a hologram, a so-called void panograph that prevents someone from color-copying, chemically altering or scanning the checks. For shredding, he recommends using a micro-cut shredder, which he said turns paper into confetti the size of a grain of rice. Documents shredded using a straight ribbon shredder can be reassembled.
Cumberland Title’s rule of thumb is “better to be safe than sorry.” So in addition to a number of other internal precautions that we regularly take to protect both us and our clients, we have implemented all three of these safety measures. These services may cost our company more than the status quo procedures, but the cost of not having them is simply not fathomable, so you can feel confident about working with Cumberland Title.