County Recorder Office Closures Due to COVID-19 Increase Risk for Title Fraud
- The closure of many county recorder offices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and various stay-at-home orders is leading to a backlog of recordation and delays in finalizing property records
- Multiple title orders opened on a single residential property signal a red flag for potential fraud, and multiple order completions could lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars per property
- Black Knight’s TitlePoint and iOnTitle suite of products continuously monitors the chain of title on a property until the loan is closed
- TitlePoint customers using iOnTitle can be alerted immediately to the presence of multiple orders on a single property from the beginning of a title search through the closing of the loan
- iOnTitle continues to monitor activity after the loan is closed, until the property transfer has been officially recorded at the county recorder’s office, reducing the risk of multiple “blind closings” on a single property
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – April 28, 2020 – As the ramifications of COVID-19 to the real estate and mortgage industries become clearer, Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE:BKI) announced that its iOnTitle solution can help avoid fraudulent transactions from taking place while many county recorder offices remain closed in response to the pandemic. Lisa Roessler, Black Knight’s vice president of Title Strategy and Business Development, explained that the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 have increased opportunities for those looking to commit real estate fraud.
“The unfortunate reality is that criminals seek out weaknesses to exploit in order to execute their schemes,” said Roessler. “Today, many county recorder offices have been forced to close for an indeterminate length of time in response to stay-at-home orders resulting from COVID-19. Sadly, this creates a sizeable opportunity for those who would seek to commit real estate fraud in the midst of this confusion. Any delay in the public recordation of a real estate transaction creates a period where multiple title orders – for multiple mortgages – can be initiated on a single property. If funds are transferred before this activity is detected, losses could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per incident.”
Black Knight’s iOnTitle solution continuously monitors the chain of title on a property from the moment an order is initiated through the post-closing period. If another order is identified prior to close, title agents using Black Knight’s TitlePoint and iOnTitle are notified immediately, helping to reduce the chance for fraud. This allows real estate transactions to continue with confidence, until stay-at-home orders are lifted and county recorder offices can open again. iOnTitle continues to track the title from the moment the mortgage has been funded and insured until it is recorded. The advanced system also lets clients know when delayed documents have been recorded, and can detect when re-conveyances are recorded, payoffs were made, and whether lien positions on new mortgages are properly identified as subordinate liens.
“iOnTitle is an important tool to help prevent fraud at any time,” Roessler continued. “But today’s circumstances make the insight this solution provides more critical than ever. The conditions are ripe for fraudulent real estate activity, and title agents and those they serve must be armed to defend against such activity. When ‘blind’ closings are an ever-increasing possibility, it is crucial that title agents have a clear view into any orders placed on a property, before, at and beyond closing.”
About Black Knight
Black Knight (NYSE: BKI) is a leading provider of integrated software, data and analytics solutions that facilitate and automate many of the business processes across the homeownership lifecycle.
As a leading fintech, Black Knight is committed to being a premier business partner that clients rely on to achieve their strategic goals, realize greater success and better serve their customers by delivering best-in-class software, services and insights with a relentless commitment to excellence, innovation, integrity and leadership. For more information on Black Knight, please visit www.blackknightinc.com.