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Wire Fraud Takes Aim at Wider Field, Hammers Home Construction Industry
press release, CertifID

Wire fraud is growing its range of targets, with the home building industry increasingly in its crosshairs, according to a new white paper published by CertifID.

“Wire Fraud Begins to Hammer the Construction Industry” was recently produced and written by anti-fraud technology developer Thomas Cronkright II, CEO and Co-Founder of CertifID and Lawrence Duthler, President and Co-Founder of CertifID. According to their findings, wire fraud may have been the culprit for as much as $1 Billion in losses in 2017, as supported by statistics made available by the National Home Builders Association via the Western Michigan Home Builders Association.

The white paper goes on to detail three actual frauds perpetrated on home builders; illustrating how fraudsters prey upon the builders. Using a few sensitive, stolen details about a pending transaction, fraud perpetrators have been known to send convincing yet false payoff letters; open bank accounts in the name of the targeted developer or employ a technique known as identity spoofing.

Cronkright and Duthler are the co-founders of CertifID, developer of a real-time identity platform for real estate, mortgage and title industry professionals to authenticate parties in a transaction and securely transfer bank account information. Cronkright and Duthler are also co-owners of a Michigan-based title agency, were themselves victimized by wire fraud in the past. They were able to recover most of the stolen funds, which inspired them to develop CertifID’s authentication technology. They used this background to help produce an earlier white paper, “When Minutes Matter: A Step-by-Step Guide to Wire Fraud Recovery.” (

Cronkright cautions that wire fraud is “a threat to a much larger universe than the title and settlement industry,” as evidenced by the latest numbers on builder losses. “While the title industry—thanks in large part to ALTA’s continued efforts to raise awareness—may be a key flashpoint for the earliest cases of wire fraud, all parties are vulnerable,” said Cronkright. “Today, we’re seeing where builders can be targeted. But lenders, originators, investors…even, if indirectly, REALTORS…are all on the hook in the long run. We strongly believe all elements of the greater housing, real estate and mortgage industry need to join the fight against wire fraud as it continues to grow.”

The white paper is free and available for download to anyone at

Learn more about CertifID at

About CertifID

Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, CertifID was founded by Lawrence Duthler and Tom Cronkright, experienced attorneys and award-winning business leaders of Sun Title, one of Michigan’s largest title agencies which has been ranked as an Inc. 5000 company for the past four consecutive years. In 2015, Sun Title fell victim to a social engineering fraud that cost the company nearly $200,000. Immediately following the fraud, Tom and Lawrence spent two years collecting a portion of the money that was stolen and discovered even more elaborate and complex schemes being perpetrated on the industry.

Through that experience, they identified a need in the marketplace to create a real-time solution to verify identities and documents in financial transactions – CertifID was born. Having lived through a significant fraud event and having to continually combat the threat on a monthly basis the founders of CertifID know how critical the need is for this solution in the title, real estate, and lending industries. Their experience, partnerships, and leadership team positions CertifID to become a leader in the fight to eliminate fraud in real estate and financial transactions.

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