Elite Escrow Exclusive
Summer Edition 2017
In This Issue

BEC Scams

"If you can be hacked, you will be hacked, 
and that fact is not going away"

The Business Email Compromise (BEC) scam is a sophisticated email scan in which the attacker assumes the role of the boss, a supervisor, a customer, or a vendor.  The purpose is to trick and employee at the victim organization into believing it is a legitimate communication.  The email requests funds to be sent to an account that is actually controlled by the scammer.  

According to FBI statistics released in May 2017, BEC scam losses worldwide between October 2013 and December 2016 were $5.3 Billion.

Common BEC Scam strategies
  • Spoofing legitimate email addresses, using one similar to the targeted business.
  • Sending fraudulent e-mails impersonating an executive who supposedly is traveling or in a meeting so the request likely can't be confirmed.
  • Stressing urgency, requesting that the funds transfer be done ASAP.
  • Using a phrase like, "Sent from my iPad" instead of a corporate email signature.  This trick excuses poor grammar and misspellings and helps reinforce a sense of urgency.
While it is not known how BEC scammers select their victims, social media is one obvious method.  When companies post events that key executives will be attending, the scammers know when that executive will be out of the office.  Social media tools such as LinkedIn can be used to identify individuals responsible for financial transactions within a business.  Scammers learn the procedures or protocols for funds transfers by hacking into the targeted company's computer system and observing communications among and between key individuals, as well as with their bank.

New Washington Law Regarding Durable Powers of Attorney 
Provides Significant Changes to Previous Law

Washington's statute relating to powers of attorney was recently replaced in its entirety by a new Washington Uniform Power of Attorney Act, effective January 1, 2017 (referred to as the "Act").  The Act provides several changes and additions to the previous law, which aim to address previous ambiguity in the law and to provide safeguards to prevent possible abuse of authority by an agent under the power of attorney.  Some of the key provisions of the Act are summarized below.

If the principal names co-agents to act on his or her behalf, the Act now clarifies that co-agents must exercise their authority jointly, unless the document specifies that each co-agent may act independently. If your power of attorney document currently appoints two persons to serve together as your agent, you should review your document to ensure it correctly reflects your intent.

Under the Act, a power of attorney must now expressly state that the document is not affected by the disability of the principal, or that it becomes effective upon the disability of the principal in order for the power of attorney to be "durable" and not affected by the principal's subsequent disability.  The powers granted to the agent may be effective immediately upon signing or may spring into effect only when the principal becomes incapacitated.  Having a durable power of attorney in place in most cases eliminates the need for a formal court guardianship with its related delay, expense, and on-going court reporting requirements. However, if a guardian is appointed by the court to manage the principal's affairs, the Act now provides that a power of attorney terminates unless the court specifies otherwise.

Elite Escrow advocating for 
Escrow Institute of California in Washington D.C.

In March, our own Genia Engelstad traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with Congressional Representatives and counsel for the House of Financial Service Committee to seek an exemption of California's Independent Escrow Agents from the Dodd Frank.  Letters were also delivered to over 50 Congressional offices.  

10 Must-Have Apps for Road Trips

Alerts you when you're low on gas or if your'e about to approach a turn. Track expenses or split the cost of gas with a friend.
Gas Buddy
Track fuel prices at gas stations in the U.S. and Canada.  Calculate how much you need based on your itinerary and the model of your car.
Use your phone as a dash cam.  The app alerts you if the car crosses road lines or gets too close to another car.  Works like an airplane black box in the event of an accident.
Uses GPS to find nearby detour-worthy pit stops - great restaurants, photo ops, points of interest or quirky roadside  attractions.
By using the voice-activated feature, this app makes it easy for drivers to ask for directions, check weather, text or call friends, and operate music apps without lifting a finger from the wheel.
Fingers crossed you don't experience any kind of engine or mechanical hiccups on your trip, but if it does happen, Openbay will help compare repair prices based on your location - perfect for the traveler!
This app lets you pull up and control your music and GPS apps from one screen.  It will also track where you parked your car, help you find ATMs and coffee shops, and send updates to let you know how much time is left on the meter.
TomTom Go Mobile
See your driving route in multi color 3-D.  You can also use it to avoid getting a speeding ticket: its user community shares locations of law-enforcement cameras and speed traps.
This traffic-tracking navigation app from Google is a must for gridlocked urban areas, and its real-time updates can save you time.  Users are encouraged to share info, like police sightings, debris on the road or accidents.
Better than a "How's my Driving?" bumper sticker, this app tracks your driving habits (how smooth your turns, starts, and stops are, if you accelerate too hard, and if you're checking your phone too much).  It will also give you tips to improve your road skills.
Android and IOS

RESPA Do's and Don'ts for Co-Marketing, Social Media, 
& Other Web-Based Marketing Tools

Real estate brokers and agents are subject to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) when engaging in transactions involving federally related mortgage loans. RESPA generally prohibits any person from giving or receiving any "thing of value" in exchange for the referral of settlement service business. Liabilities for RESPA violations may be severe, ranging from significant fines to imprisonment. 

Click HERE for guidelines for real estate professionals when engaging in co-marketing activities via social media and other web-based marketing tools:

Meet the Newest Elite Super Team!

The Dial~Rutherford Team

Jennifer Dial and Trisha Rutherford have joined forces as the newest Team of Escrow Officers at Elite Escrow Services of San Diego!  

With over 25 years of experience, they provide escrow services with integrity, accuracy and superior customer service.  Open your next escrow with them and experience the Elite difference!

Click here to learn more about Jennifer and Trisha
What an  Elite  Client has to say!

Jennifer and Trisha,
I do want to thank you and your team for service above and beyond.  We are all having to do much more for each file.  Making things happen is a sign of true professionalism coupled with excellent people skills.  On the tougher deals - my clients have made specific mention of the level of service they are getting from your office.   Thanks again!

Becky Ahring
Carol Miller
Shanon Leder
Becky Ahring
Carol Miller
Sydney Phillips