Don’t Deviate From Your Process…Entirely

by Shawn Neely, ILTA Communications Committee Co-Chair

The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced our industry to act creatively in order to continue to serve our clients as an “essential business” in the safest way possible. Drive up and drive thru closings are being offered and RON is being implemented when possible. While these are adaptations to our process we must continue to remain vigilant. Fraudsters will try to take advantage of our fears and distraction during this turbulent time and will continue to come up with new ways to do so. My story today is a little different than our normal series. Spoiler alert, there was no malicious intent here but I thought it was an interesting story to share to remind us that there will be new red flags presented to us.

An agent recently received a call from a customer that went to their credit union to wire their cash to close. The customer found the bank closed and was unsure what to do.  The customer called the agent and asked if they can bring in 50 $500 money orders totaling the $25,000 they needed to close.  The agent was skeptical and contacted their underwriter. The agent was instructed not to accept the money orders and to have the customer contact their credit union. The credit union told the customer that they were not closed but had consolidated a number of branches. They instructed the customer where the next closest open branch was but also educated them on how to initiate a wire online without leaving the house. The customer was happy and sent the wire.

Though this was a successful resolution it is a reminder that no agent needs to risk the possibility of accepting a forged cashier’s check, money order, personal check, etc. Continue to keep to the procedures you’ve put in place to protect you and your clients and if something seems off, as always, please contact your underwriter immediately.

Stay Home, Wash Your Hands.

** ILTA is seeing an increase in fraudulent emails referencing the COVID-19 virus. With an increased number of employees currently working remotely, it is important to remember that email communications should not be relied upon for the verification of disbursement instructions.