According to reports of the fraud these phony entities are creating title insurance commitments and providing lenders with insured closing letters.
The names of the corporations in the filings are almost identical to the registered agent name adding such suffixes as "services", "group" or "corporation".
This identity theft is done by those with no physical locations and use cell phones for communications.
Stewart Title lists the signs to look for:
1. Be aware of communications received from buyers, sellers, vendors, lenders, brokers or any other parties relating to a closing that you have not been asked to handle. This may seem like an innocuous request since many times a closing simply has not yet been referred to you, or your office was the proposed recipient of the closing and the file has been moved to another closing agency. However, these calls are also the primary method to catch this type of identity theft.
2. Many times a party to the imposter's closing will try to contact the imposter, but find your contact information in a phone book or in a vendor's or lender's database, and call you relating to the imposter's closing. You will need to train your staff to be cognizant of this specific type of phone call and if one is received, you will need to gather as much information from the person as possible relating to the imposter agency. It is imperative the parties are made aware your office is not handling the closing.
3. The use of positive pay, strict guidelines as to who is authorized to make withdrawals and continual diligence/oversight with respect to the transactions occurring in your escrow account.
4. Regular review of records maintained by the Secretary of State relating to your corporate name may be appropriate.