Back in March of 1950, the FBI added Willie “The Actor” Sutton to their list of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. During his tenure as an American bank robber, Sutton stole an estimated $2 million ($25 million in today’s dollars) and was known for using disguises. Police officer, maintenance worker, postal carrier, and telegraph messenger were a few of the roles the fraudster assumed to execute his heists.

When asked why he robbed banks, he replied, “because that’s where the money is.”

For a modern Willie Sutton, real estate seller impersonation might be considered the latest fraud method of choice. Fraudsters are focusing on compromising the identity of property owners to sell real estate they do not own. Their goal is to collect the funds a buyer intends to use for purchasing the property before other transaction participants realize the fraudster is not the legal owner.

Imagine owning a piece of land where you haven’t built anything yet, and one day as you drive past it you discover that there is a construction site on it. As you finally get to speak with the person in charge of the construction, you hear them claiming they rightfully own the land, with a perfectly valid deed of sale as proof.

How is this even possible in 2024, you may wonder? It’s simple: With the explosion of online business transactions over the last five years, technology has made it easy to buy and sell remotely – but not necessarily easy to do it securely.

It doesn’t take long for a bad actor to find leaked data online, and to spot weak identity verification methods in a remote real estate sales process. Personally identifiable information (PII) belonging to real estate owners, loan applicants, sellers, and real estate agents is valuable to bad actors looking to commit seller impersonation fraud.

Seller impersonation fraud follows a specific methodology, and understanding the nuances is critical in safeguarding your organization. Our latest white paper provides more details about how it happens, the challenges it creates, and best practices you can put in place to prevent these risks without negatively impacting your sales processes.

Whether you’re seeking detailed insights or tailored solutions, our team is ready to assist. Download the white paper or contact us to discuss your specific needs.