IC3’s Successes Point to Need for Quick Action On Asset Recovery

The FBI’s Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3) reported a whopping $6.9 billion in potential losses to cybercrime in 2021.

Among the 847,376 complaints received by IC3 in 2021, ransomware, business e-mail compromise (BEC) schemes, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency were among the top incidents reported.

For the title insurance industry, BEC schemes are the most troubling. The 19,954 BEC complaints resulted in an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion, up from $1.8 billion in 2020. Phishing schemes were up dramatically as well. BEC/EAC and phishing schemes are the areas where the title insurance industry is most likely to be victimized.

Even as cybercriminals continue to get more sophisticated, so do the defense systems used to combat theft and recover illegally acquired funds. The title insurance industry has worked diligently to put in place a network of players that can be galvanized quickly to stop illegal transfer of funds.

IC3 has become a player in that process. In 2018, IC3 established the Recovery Asset Team (RAT) to streamline communications with financial institutions and FBI field offices to assist in the process of freezing funds for victims.

In 2021, the IC3’s RAT initiated the Financial Fraud Kill Chain (FFKC) on 1,726 BEC complaints involving domestic to domestic transactions with potential losses of $443,448,237. A monetary hold was placed on approximately $329 million, which represents a 74% success rate.

If you are a victim or one of your clients falls victim to a BEC scam, it is critical to act immediately to be successful in recovering funds. Here are some recommendations for creating an action plan.

• Have a written emergency response plan in place for suspected fraudulent transfers
• Educate all staff members so that they know how to take immediate action
• Meet with the financial institution that manages your escrow accounts to discuss action steps in case an incident occurs in the future
• Make sure you have a specific contact or contacts at the bank who are knowledgeable and have the authority to act quickly
• Contact the originating financial institution as soon as fraud is recognized to request a recall or reversal
• File a detailed complaint with www.ic3.gov

IC3’s RAT team acts as a liaison between the financial institution and the FBI. If the necessary criteria are met, RAT will forward transaction details to the identified point of contact at the recipient
bank to notify of fraudulent activity and request freezing of the account. Once they hear back from the institution, RAT then contacts the appropriate FBI field office(s) to follow through on the investigation.

At Premier-One, we know title businesses have unique challenges when it comes to protecting sensitive client information. A big part of what we do for our title clients is building layered cybersecurity protections and systems to mitigate their chances of ever having to become one of these alarming statistics. Contact us to learn more at sales@premier-one.com.

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