The effects of a cyber scam can be far-reaching. If someone falls victim to a cyber scam, it can result in identity theft, loss of savings, and an increase in debt.
Phishing is one of the most common cyber scams. It occurs when someone receives an email containing malware. When the attachment is opened or the hyperlink clicked, malware is installed. Think twice before clicking on attachments and links.
Phishing can also be a gateway for a social engineering criminal to gain confidential information. In extreme cases, this has led to large sums of money being quickly transferred from the victim’s account into offshore accounts. Since real estate transactions involve large sums of money, the industry has been targeted by thieves, these scams are on the rise, and the Federal Trade Commission has taken notice.
The FTC says “If you’re buying a home and get an e-mail with money-wiring instructions, STOP. Email is not a secure way to send financial information, and your real estate professional or title company should know that.”
- Never email your financial information. Email is not considered secure.
- For any financial information you provide over the web, check that the site is secure. The URL would begin with “https”
- Do not click on a link in an email to go to an organization’s site. Instead, look up the real URL and type into the address field yourself.
- Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails.
- Make sure your operating system, browser and security software are up to date.
If you have been the victim of a phishing scam, you can file a report with the FTC: www.ftc.gov/complaintRead More
Buying a house is an exciting time and the more you know about the process, the more relaxed you’ll be going through it. The American Land Title Association (ALTA) partnered with the Designing Spaces television series on Lifetime to explain to homebuyers the closing process and the importance of purchasing an owner’s title insurance policy.
The segment does a great job explaining how the work by title insurance professionals provides consumers peace of mind when purchasing a home.
Arizona Property taxes are levied twice a year for 1/2 year periods and paid in arrears.
1st Half Jan-Jun taxes: due October 1st of that same year
2nd Half Jul-Dec taxes: due March 1st of the following year.
Bills for the current year’s taxes are mailed in September and include 2 coupons for each half of the year. When there is a mortgage loan on the property the tax bill is mailed to the lender as these taxes make up part of the monthly payment.
Property taxes are prorated at closing for taxes accrued but not yet due and payable, based on the yearly tax amount and the closing date.
For cash transactions Escrow will pay the full year’s tax, if closing date occurs after tax bill information is available.
Informational PDF: AZ Property Tax Collection
The new Loan Estimate is one of two forms required by the CFPB and will be used for impacted loans originated on or after October 3rd 2015. This form is provided to consumers by the lender within three days in the loan application. It replaces early Truth In Lending statement and the Good Faith Estimate and provides a summary of key loan terms, an estimate of the loan costs, and closing costs. The intent of this form is to promote easy comparison shopping.Read More
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act commonly known as RESPA governs the mortgage and residential real estate closing industry. It is intended to prevent kickbacks & unnecessary costs. In addition it gives consumers buyers and sellers full disclosure of the costs for a transaction it was originally enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Truth in Lending Act known as TILA governs all types of credit and lending industries. It requires the disclosure of credit terms, costs of credit, calculations, and a projected payment schedule. It was originally enforced by the Federal Reserve Board.
Congress passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (commonly known as Dodd-Frank) which went into effect July 2010. The law created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB, and moved enforcement of RESPA to this new Bureau. The law also mandated that the two sets of disclosures be combined into one Integrated Disclosure.
TRID= TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures.Read More
“REALTOR® Magazine presented a live webcast on July 16, 2015, to help real estate professionals understand the changes to the closing process that are scheduled to go into effect later this year. The program featured attorney Phil Schulman, a partner with K&L Gates and former official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development who specializes in federal closing rules, and NAR Senior Counsel Finley Maxson.
As part of the changes, which stem from the merger of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), two new forms—the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure—will replace the HUD-1 settlement form and the Good Faith Estimate. Samples of the new forms are available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
Protect your next real estate transaction from a cyberscam! Here is a great video from NAR that details how recent cyberscams work:Read More
Title insurance protects against problems affecting the title to a home, which is likely a families most valuable asset. Homebuyers are protected from ownership issues by purchasing an Owner’s Policy of title insurance (for a full list of policies and comparisons- click here), which ensures that the title to their property is clear of liens or encumbrances, such as unpaid mortgages, property taxes or child support liens, to name just a few.
The American Land Title Association created this short video to explain the importance of title insurance.Read More
You may have heard about the Final Integrated Mortgage Disclosures Rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was tasked with combining the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) disclosures. Below is a short video describing some of the impact these changes will have on your real estate transactions beginning August 1st 2015.Read More
The FTC’s Safeguards Rule, enacted under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, requires financial institutions to implement reasonable policies and procedures to ensure the security and confidentiality of sensitive non-public customer information (NPI). In addition we must encrypt certain documents containing NPI in accordance with CFPB compliance requirements and ALTA Best Practices requirements.
When you receive an encrypted email, you will need to create an account in order to open the email. No matter which email you use; be it web based like Gmail/Yahoo or POP3 like Outlook, the procedure for setting up the account is the same once you have received the initial email. (For this example I set
up a sample Gmail account to show the steps). You will initially receive 2 emails, the notification to create an account and a notification of the encrypted message.If you have not registered yet, you will be prompted to create an account and choose a password with McAfee. A guide to assist you is posted below.
(Email Encryption Guide and FAQ)