Retired teacher Vicki Ragle and her daughter Sarah were scammed out of nearly $200,000 in a business email compromise. The Lakewood, Colorado residents were in the process of buying a townhouse when they received emails requesting money before the closing. Believing they were from the title company, they wired the money, but when they showed up at the closing, the title company said they had not received the funds.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigations says the scam was a "business email compromise," in which someone uses fake emails to gain control of people's finances. FBI said it received 504 complaints of business email compromise that cost victims $54 million in Colorado in 2022.
Vicki lost the townhouse and her life savings in the ordeal. She and her daughter are speaking out in hopes of warning others about the dangers of these scams.
How Title Companies Can Protect from Cyber Threats
Chris Close, a cybersecurity expert with Cyber Sleuth Security’s Wilmington branch, was recently interviewed about how title companies can protect themselves from cyber threats.
When asked what the biggest challenge is for title companies when it comes to protecting themselves from cyber threats, Close stated, "It's no secret that title companies are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. They often hold sensitive information, such as customer data and financial information, which makes them a prime target for cyber threat actors. The biggest challenge is that these organizations need to be proactive in their security measures - they cannot simply rely on traditional methods of protection."
When pressed for tips on how title companies can better protect themselves from cyber threats, Close had this to say: "First and foremost, title companies need to ensure that their networks are secure and that they are following best practices for data security. This includes encrypting data, regularly patching their systems, and implementing two-factor authentication. Additionally, they should conduct regular security audits and testing to ensure that their network is as secure as possible."
Finally, when asked what advice he had for title companies that might be struggling with cybersecurity, Close said, "My advice is to invest in a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that can protect your systems and data. A good cybersecurity solution should include a firewall, antivirus, and other tools to help protect you from cyber threats. Additionally, it's important to understand the risks associated with the data you store and take the necessary steps to protect it."