The American Land Title Association — the industry group for title companies — has made the use of positive pay check-fraud protection a requirement for receiving its best practices certification. Here’s why:
- Title companies are entrusted with issuing checks for thousands and even millions of dollars of their customers’ money, and their very survival depends on protecting those funds.
- The emergence of the dark web means criminals have easy access to a title company’s account and routing numbers.
- Positive pay has proven to be successful in helping title companies keep customer funds secure.
Indeed, as the owner of Crescent Title, positive pay helps me sleep at night.
Left to right: Treasury Services Specialist Cindy Osmer, Jacinta Silverman and Bob Bergeron of Crescent Title and Private Banker John Morton. Crescent Title's adoption of positive pay has helped with fraud detection and keeps their clients' funds safe and secure.
Crescent Title provides real estate closing and other services from six offices across the New Orleans metropolitan area. Each year we issue about 35,000 checks, most related to closings. Back in 2011 we thwarted a fraud attempt when a woman who received a counterfeit Crescent Title check got suspicious and called us. We instituted positive pay on the targeted account, and later, when we converted to a new software system, we added positive pay to all of our banks accounts, including those at Hancock Whitney.
The positive pay process is simple. Check issuance information for most of our accounts is automatically transmitted to the bank. We get a daily email reporting exception items, and we reject any that are fraudulent.
After implementing positive pay, we still occasionally saw fraud attempts. But when the criminals kept getting their items returned, they eventually gave up and moved on, for the most part.
Since fully implementing it in 2013, positive pay has protected our checking accounts — and our customers — with great success. We’ve had no check fraud losses and as a result have avoided the need to open new accounts and interrupt our daily operations.