November is a month where we take time to appreciate what we have and express our thanks to all of those who are serving or have served in our nation’s military.  We are the land of the free because of the sacrifices and service of our Veterans and their families, we at Olympic Peninsula Title salute you all.

ALTA ONE…Jason and I joined about a thousand of our fellow title industry professionals in Los Angeles in mid-October for a week of meetings and education sessions at the American Land Title Association annual convention.  We heard from a number of great speakers about the changing landscape of the real estate market due to customer expectations, digital closings, and wire fraud as well as learning about new technologies available in the market that bring added security and ease to closing transactions.
 
The conference was particularly exciting for me this year as I became the first person from WA state to earn the National Title Professional designation from the ALTA and was installed for my second term on the ALTA Board of Governors.  As a member of the ALTA Board I travel around the country and speak at state title association conferences as well as spending time in Washington DC where we work with regulators and our legislators to make sure that they understand the full impact of the real estate markets on the overall economy and the importance of safeguarding the process of buying and selling real estate through well thought out rules and regulations. 

Wire fraud continues to be a growing problem and the statistics are quite alarming.  The FBI issued its annual report in July and global losses due to Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams are estimated at $12.5 billion in 2017, up from $5.3 billion in 2016.  The number of real estate-related BEC scam complaints reported to the FBI’s IC3 website are up 1,100% in 2017.  The most important take-away from these numbers to me is that we all must continue to educate our clients from the earliest point possible to be aware that this is a very real threat that they must be watching for during their transaction.  But the good news is not falling victim to a scam is as easy as following one simple rule:  Inquire before you wire!  A great rule of thumb is for the customer to place a quick phone call to their closer prior to initiating a wire to confirm the account number and we are always happy to take those calls.   

Increased insurance…Last month I told you about the additional protection we provide to our clients when they wire money to OPT by transmitting and confirming wire instructions through CertifID.  I’m very excited to let you know that the insurance amount has now doubled, so our clients are protected against loss of wired funds up to $1,000,000 at no cost to them. 

All of us at OPT wish all of you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Maureen and the OPT Crew