RI Mortgage Bankers Association Educates Industry Members on Ways to Combat Mortgage Fraud

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A panel discussion put together by Rhode Island Mortgage Bankers Association (RIMBA) on January 13 addressed the very real issue of mortgage fraud being perpetuated on the real estate and mortgage industry and its customers. From "phishing," to "whaling," to wire fraud schemes, the incidence of illegal activities is on the rise.

Rhode Island Mortgage Bankers Association (RIMBA) recently held a mortgage fraud panel with leading industry experts to reduce susceptibility to mortgage and cybersecurity fraud in 2020. The event, held at Chelo’s in Warwick on January 7, 2020, was moderated by Colleen M. Capossela, Esq., President of CATICPro, Inc.

Taking on the growing risk for lenders and their vendors, the informative program addressed strategies to combat the current estimate of 1 in 109 mortgage applications containing an element of fraud. The panel advised lenders and their vendors on what is needed to reduce fraud risk. A particular focus was placed on wire fraud, which has increasingly seen real estate professionals and their customers as prime targets.

Attorney Capossela, who in addition to serving as president of CATICPro, is the Director of Internal Compliance and Audit for CATIC, provided information on cyberattack methods and suggested risk management initiatives to consider with legal professionals and cybersecurity and technology experts to further protect clients. Capossela detailed how the industry needs to “take control” by planning, developing, deploying, monitoring, and analyzing the effectiveness of its fraud prevention strategies. She provided examples of phishing, spear phishing and whaling methods that criminals deploy to target businesses and consumers.

The distinguished panel of industry experts included Jared B. Wilbur, CFE, Vice President of the Corporate Security Governance Office of the Washington Trust Company. A certified fraud examiner, Wilbur offered his 20 years of physical security, internal and external fraud investigations, computer forensics and anti-money laundering to implore the more than 60 attendees to train employees on what to look for and to raise awareness of the targeting of home equity and reverse mortgage fraud among the elderly population.

Wilbur was joined on the panel by Douglas Smith, Esq., Vice President and General Counsel of Mortgage Network, Inc. He reminded the audience of the city of Baltimore’s ransomware attack this past summer, which prevented the city from recording real estate documents, as an illustration of the pressing threat that the industry faces.

Scott D. Kriss, Esq., President & CEO of Kriss Law and Atlantic Closing & Escrow, also served on the panel and explained the growing need to follow new more stringent

anti-fraud protocols even at the expense of immediate customer service.

The panel discussion was part of a continuing education series presented by the Rhode Island Mortgage Bankers Association. The Gold Sponsor for the event was Compass IT Compliance.

About Rhode Island Mortgage Bankers Association

The Rhode Island Mortgage Bankers Association is dedicated to promoting and sustaining responsible home lending in Rhode Island. The mortgage association has over 90 corporate members, which represent thousands of mortgage lenders throughout the state who help businesses and people secure mortgages. As part of its overarching plan to create a better housing market, RIMBA regularly promotes educational initiatives, addresses legislative challenges, and strives to cultivate membership growth. For more information about RIMBA, visit: rimba.org.

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John Houle
JH Communications
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