July 3, 2019

In This Issue:

  • Financial Services Appropriations Bill Contains Report Language on Wire Fraud
  • Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud Launches to Protect Consumers From Growing Scam Targeting Homebuyers
  • CFPB Reviews Defining Abusive Acts or Practices Under the Dodd-Frank Act

Financial Services Appropriations Bill Contains Report Language on Wire Fraud

James E. Hyland, TLTA Federal Legislative Counsel | June 30, 2019
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Financial Services Appropriations bill last week.
 
In report language that accompanied the legislation, the Appropriations Committee directed the Department of Treasury to “provide a report to the Committee, within 90 days of enactment of this Act, detailing ongoing activities to both combat and raise awareness of wire fraud in real estate. The report should detail any joint activities conducted with the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Trade Commission, and other relevant agencies. The report should also include recommendations to Congress on any legislative changes that would enhance these efforts."

As we know, wire fraud is on the rise. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a public service announcement last year reporting that between 2015 and 2017 there was an 1,100 percent increase in the number of real estate related e-mail compromise scams taking place. Of those scams, there was a nearly 2,200 percent increase in the amount of money lost. The FBI has also reported that in fiscal year 2017 alone $969 million was “diverted or attempted to be diverted” from real estate purchases and sent to “criminally controlled” accounts. This was a significant increase from $19 million in 2016. 

As we previously reported, forty-three members of Congress wrote to the Federal Reserve on June 6, 2019, urging the Fed to take a closer examination of this problem and develop potential solutions to curtail wire fraud. Five Texas members signed the letter - more than from any other state. TLTA followed up with the Federal Reserve to express our industry's concerns about the high cost of wire fraud and the need for solutions that help the industry stay ahead of the challenge. 

TLTA continues to work on this issue and will provide periodic updates on our efforts.


Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud Launches to Protect Consumers From Growing Scam Targeting Homebuyers

ALTA | July 2, 2019
On a press call held Friday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala) joined with industry experts and an affected victim to highlight the growing problem of wire transfer fraud targeting homebuyers and to launch the new Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud. 
  
Real estate wire fraud is a sophisticated scam targeting individuals making wire transfer payments during the home buying process. Unknowingly, victims send wire transfers to the account of criminals who are pretending to be real estate and title industry professionals involved in the transaction. FBI data show that in 2018, 11,300 victims across America lost a combined $149 million due to real estate wire fraud – a 166 percent increase in the total money lost compared to 2017. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg – the FBI estimates that only 12-15 percent of all fraud is reported.
 
Launching last Friday, June 28, the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud will raise awareness and educate consumers, especially potential home buyers, about how to protect themselves from the growing threat.
 
Learn More at StopWireFraud.org »
Additional Resources Can Be Found on TLTA's Cyberfraud Resources Page »
 

CFPB Reviews Defining Abusive Acts or Practices Under the Dodd-Frank Act

ACA International | June 27, 2019
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger started the bureau’s symposium series June 25  with a panel discussion on unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) under the Dodd-Frank Act—in particular whether the bureau should further define “abusive acts or practices” under the law with a new policy or rulemaking.

“With the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress gave the bureau the authority to protect consumers from (UDAAP)—a fundamental and critical responsibility,” Kraninger said during her opening remarks. “But whereas unfairness and deception have been substantially developed, abusiveness does not have the same record.”
 
Read More »
 

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