Identity fraud continues to be used frequently in mortgage fraud schemes, but the overall risk ID schemes pose to the industry is declining, according to the latest report from Interthinx, a national risk mitigation company focusing on mortgage fraud and regulatory compliance.
The company’s Identity Fraud Risk Index for the third quarter of 2012 declined 1 percent in the past six months and 24 percent in the past two years. This comes at a time when law enforcement and lending industry executive are closely scrutinizing every facet of mortgages.
Despite the overall decline, some cities posted substantial spikes in the risk of identity fraud in mortgage scams.
Ann Fulmer, Vice President of Interthinx Industry Relations, stressed the important but not widely recognized role Notaries play in preventing identity fraud. “The Notary’s most important tool for stopping identity theft is their own power of observation,” Fulmer said. “Since just about any form of official identity document can be re-created on the Internet, a Notary should be on the lookout for signs that indicate a forgery. Sometimes all it takes is a look at the reverse side of a driver’s license to see if it is identified as a ‘novelty.’ But in other cases, the forgeries seem to be picture-perfect.”
Fulmer advised Notaries to become very familiar with their state’s security measures and carefully check licenses presented by borrowers to make sure the security elements are present. A Notary with detailed and current knowledge of what the genuine article looks like will have a greatly improved advantage in spotting a fake. “Notaries are one of the last lines of defense against mortgage fraud,” said Fulmer. “By following proper procedures, Notaries can help stem the tide of identity fraud.”
The NNA offers a free online webinar for Notaries who want to brush up on the proper way to identify signers.