Cyber Security Training - 2020!

Worried about falling prey to a phishing scheme? Want help recognizing bad websites? Need to learn more about keeping your office, and your electronic devices, safe from cyber attacks?

VATC can help. Last year VATC negotiated a bulk discount rate with Wombat, a national provider of cyber security training. We were able to introduce an on-line Cyber Security training program exclusive to VATC members. Several dozen offices, and over 125 individuals, signed up and took advantage of these informative, educational trainings.  CATIC uses the same training platform for its employees.

If nothing else, accessing a training exercise once a month promotes cyber-security awareness front and center!

For those of you who enrolled in 2019, you'll get an email from Andy soon asking if you wish to renew for another year. The cost remains the same at $30 per employee but with a cap of $200 for firms with 7 to 9 participants and $250 for firms with 10 or more participants. Direct enrollment with Wombat would cost a law office several thousand dollars. 

Please respond when you get Andy's email. NB: There are new training sessions and new training methods available this year (plus Andy is getting better at being an Administrator!!).

If you did not participate in 2019, please know that the trainings are monthly. They arrive via email and generally take about 10 or so minutes to complete. The platform typically involves a educational training component followed by a quiz (which can be taken until one "passes").  

For more information you can visit the Wombat site or call the VATC office and speak with Andy.  
Old Files with Issues?

Looking for a New Year's Resolution? Now is a great time to get those nagging files with "issues" either off your desk or out of the filing cabinet and out to the Insureds!  

Common issues include: lack of a mortgage discharge; document errors discovered in the post-closing update; and complicated policy preparation.

We can help! 
Together we can tackle these problem files and have them resolved before the start of the busy spring real estate season (or before you get a gentle nudge from us in the form of an "Overdue Policy" Report)!

1. Missing discharges CATIC offers an Aged Lien Service. To place a discharge order, have your username and password handy and click  here.  Remember, when you use VATC's update and discharge service, this problem becomes OUR problem and we procure the discharge for current seller mortgages.

2. Post-Closing error? Errors in r
ecording or document execution are often found in a post-closing update. Many issues may be fixed by use of a corrective affidavit. VATC maintains affidavits on our website. Alternatively, call Andy or Liz for a quick solution.

3. Complicated final policy preparation?  Start 2020 by tackling these files with VATC's help. Just pull out your problem file and call the VATC office with your question(s). Remember, no question is a dumb question!
Upcoming Seminars - Current Developments in Vermont Real Estate

VATC is continuing its County Seminar series! Join us for 2 hours of CLE (NO ETHICS). Fun to be had by all! The following seminars have been scheduled:

Washington & Lamoille Counties:
Wednesday, February 12th
Chittenden County:
Thursday, March 5th
Windsor & Orange Counties:
Wednesday, March 18th
Addison County:
Tuesday, March 24th
Rutland County:
Tuesday, April 7th

Click  here for more information and to register.
Monthly Marketable Title Mayhem 

Want to test your knowledge of Vermont real estate law? Now you can! 

Beginning  December 4 and continuing on the first Wednesday of every month thereafter (unless that date is a Federal Holiday), VATC will be publishing a five question, multiple-choice quiz. For those of you who subscribe to Mike Kennedy's famous Ethics blog, this will be a similar question format. 

The quiz is open to one and all. By subscribing (an option available when you open the quiz),  you'll receive: an email each month with the new quiz, answers to the preceding month's quiz and an honor roll list of those who went 5 for 5.

To sign up,  go to the VATC website and under " News & Announcements " click on the post about this blog.

NOTE: Once you are in the quiz you can subscribe to receive all future quizzes and answers automatically. 
ALTA: Updates to Best Practices

The American Land Title Association has adopted various updates to its Best Practices Pillars, effective January 2, 2020. These updates address: Pillar 2 (wire transfer procedures); Pillar 3 (multi-factor authentication); Pillar 6 (data security, and cyber liability and crime insurance).

In brief summary firms must:

* have a written wire transfer procedure that is tested annually; 

* use MFA for all remotely hosted or remotely accessible systems that store, transmit, or transfer non-public personal information; 

* improve data security, covering matters such as written information security plans, the maintenance and disposal of non-public personal information, disaster planning, proper training of employees, and oversight of third-party providers.

* strongly consider obtaining cyber liability insurance and crime coverage in amounts appropriate to the company size and settlement volume."

Click here to read ALTA's announcement on these changes to Best Practices.

Click here to see ALTA's blog about MFA.
Lau's Corner & Title Tips

1099-S Proceeds from Real Estate Transactions:  ** IMPORTANT **
The Form 1099-S, along with the appropriate Form 1096 transmittal, must be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service no later than February 28, 2020 (for paper filing) or by March 31, 2020 (for electronic filing). 

When filing these IRS forms, be sure to use "official forms or forms that meet the specifications for substitute forms."  While CATIC's  PrepExpress software contains a Solicitation/Substitute Form 1099-S that form has NOT been approved by the IRS and therefore should NOT be used for official filing purposes.

:  Windows 7 Goes "End of Support" on January 14, 2020:
Microsoft will end its security update support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020 and it will no longer offer security updates for this operating system. Although computers using Windows 7 will be functional after that date, Microsoft is strongly urging its customers to update to a more modern operating system.

If your office is still using Windows 7, you should reassess that decision, and upgrade before January 14 in order to ensure that you are better protected from security risks and malware.

Career Network:    We often hear of firms who are hiring. While we welcome phone calls or emails, we have added a career network posted under News and Announcements (bottom right hand corner) of the VATC website. We will only post information if we have permission and we will not act as an intermediary. If you would like to add a post for a job opening or a job sought, please email Katie the information as you would like it to appear on our website.