Interthinx 2013 Yearly Report Notes Rise in Occupancy Fraud Risk, Less Geographical Fraud Risk Dispersion
- The First American group announces highest concentration of fraud risk found in California -
April 3, 2014, Agoura Hills, CA.,
Interthinx, a subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF) and a leading provider of comprehensive risk mitigation solutions for the financial services industry, has released its annual interactive Mortgage Fraud Risk Report, which includes data collected in 2013 from loan applications processed by the Interthinx FraudGUARD® system.
According to the report, the 2013 Annual Mortgage Fraud Risk Index value was 104, a 4 percent increase from 2012. This continues the gradually rising trend in fraud risk observed over the past three years as inventories shrink, prices rise and markets stabilize.
Nationally, the occupancy fraud risk index was up 24 percent with an index of 135. This increase was likely due to changes associated with a more purchase-driven market (32 percent of all loans in 2012 versus 49 percent in 2013) and continued investor interest in real estate acquisitions. According to the report, Greeley, Colorado was the riskiest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for occupancy fraud risk with an index of 227.
Other notable findings in the report include:
For the second year in a row, the District of Columbia ranked first in the top 10 list of states with a Mortgage Fraud Risk Index of 142. California moved from No. 6 to No. 2 with an index of 141, a gain of 12 percent from 2012. Nevada, regularly included in the top 10, fell from second place last year to No. 4 in 2013 with an index of 116. The top 10 riskiest states also included Illinois, Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Maryland and New Jersey.
The least risky state in 2013 was Maine with an index of 55. Mississippi, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Vermont, Iowa, and Kansas were also included in the top 10 least risky states.
While the geographic distribution of fraud risk was more dispersed in 2012 than it was in 2013, California held an unusually intense concentration of risks: California claimed the riskiest MSA (Salinas); nine of the top 10 riskiest MSAs; 18 of the 25 riskiest ZIP codes; five of the 10 riskiest MSAs for identity fraud; seven of the 10 riskiest MSAs for occupancy fraud; and eight of the 10 riskiest MSAs for income/employment fraud.
“What this year’s report clearly demonstrates is the effect of changing markets on fraud operations,” said Ashley Woodworth, vice president of business development and corporate strategy at Interthinx. “In previous years, when refinances dominated the market, we saw higher instances of employment and income fraud. Now that the market has shifted to the purchase arena, we’ve seen a corresponding increase in occupancy fraud.”
“Over the past three years, we’ve observed an increasing trend in overall fraud risk,” said Jeff Moyer, president of Interthinx. “Furthermore, it’s been several years since underwriters have been exposed to purchase-market fraud schemes. The more statistical information we can provide regarding where and how mortgage fraud risk manifests, the better lenders are able to guard against fraud, which can only help in furthering the recovery of the mortgage industry.”
The Mortgage Fraud Risk Report is created by an internal team of fraud experts in order to provide deeper insight into current fraud trends through the analysis of millions of loan applications collected from the Interthinx FraudGUARD loan-level fraud-detection tool. The 2013 report marks the fourth year that Interthinx has released this information offering.
Interthinx, a subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), provides essential solutions to mitigate risk in the mortgage lending marketplace. Interthinx offers capabilities in mortgage fraud and verification, property valuation, compliance, quality control and loss mitigation that are used by the nation's top financial institutions. Interthinx helps its clients minimize risk, increase operational efficiencies, satisfy regulator demands, manage data verification and remain compliant. For more information, visit www.interthinx.com or call 1-800-333-4510.
About First American
First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF),is a leading provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions that traces its heritage back to 1889. First American also provides title plant management services; title and other real property records and images; valuation products and services; home warranty products; property and casualty insurance; and banking, trust, and investment advisory services. With revenues of approximately $5.0 billion in 2013, the company offers its products and services directly and through its agents throughout the United States and abroad.