Alliance with ThreatMetrix Secures Wiring Information, Allowing CertifID to Guarantee Every Transaction up to $1,000,000


CertifID was founded in 2017 by Lawrence Duthler and Tom Cronkright, two experienced attorneys who started one of Michigan’s largest title agencies, Sun Title. In 2015, Duthler and Cronkright had become victims of wire fraud, sending $180,000 to a criminal posing as a legitimate buyer. An ongoing investigation into the crime uncovered a sophisticated global network of fraudsters, using stolen identities to hijack communications and target lucrative real estate deals. As a result, Duthler and Cronkright identified the need for a solution that would give real-time identity verification while securing send and receive wiring instructions for companies.

Business Problem

Fraudsters have been quick to find profitable opportunities in real estate deals, with most wire transfers amounting to more than $200,000.

The buyer is the most exposed individual in any real estate transaction. Fraudsters target them with sophisticated phishing attacks that compromise email accounts. Then, using these accounts, they access the communications around a real estate transaction.

Once an email account is compromised, the fraudster is able to watch and follow the progress of the transaction. On closing day, sizable sums of money are usually sent via wire to complete the sale of a property. The criminal has two ways to use the compromised email in which to derail the real estate deal. They can send incorrect wiring information to the buyer or social engineer a spoofed account. The buyer will then act on this false information which they assume is correct. In reality, they are sending funds directly to the fraudster.

The need to confirm identity at critical points in a transaction is crucial in today’s environment. ThreatMetrix delivers real-time insights that we use manage our identity process.

Tom Cronkright, CEO, CertifID

The FBI estimates that $1 billion is lost from wire fraud every year — a number that continues to grow. To counteract this growing threat, CertifID provides real estate, mortgage and title industry professionals with a real-time identity management platform, authenticating parties in a transaction and securely transferring wiring information.

Like many other industries, cyber perpetrators have gathered the domain expertise in the real estate sector and fraud has hit an epidemic level. Company liquidity and the life savings of consumers is being wiped out in an instant.

Tom Cronkright, CEO, CertifID

Verifying Identity with ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network

With ThreatMetrix, CertifID is able to genuinely recognize trusted users, piecing together their digital identity from the complex digital footprint created as users transact online. Used in conjunction with Knowledge Based Authentication, Two Factor Authentication, and Bank Account Certification, CertifID leverages the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network to digitally verify users.

The ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network analyzes millions of transactions in real-time. Across billions of devices for thousands of global digital businesses, it grows more powerful with every new piece of information, every day. The Network has 800 million unique email addresses and 700 million IP addresses; providing an enhanced view of a user’s true digital identity.

Instilling Trust in Every Transaction

Using digital identity intelligence from ThreatMetrix, CertifID has identified multiple high-risk sessions, which highlighted possible fraud and halted any transfer of funds. High-risk sessions included those which used proxies and risky mobile devices, such as burner phones. CertifID was also able to identify sessions originating from outside of the US. These out-of-country sessions originated — from countries such as Ukraine, Singapore, Dominican Republic, Africa, Taiwan, Europe, Bahamas and Mexico.

Our platform instills trust in the transaction and allows companies and consumers to act with confidence.

Tom Cronkright, CEO, CertifID

About CertifID

Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, CertifID was founded by Lawrence Duthler and Tom Cronkright, both experienced attorneys. These award-winning business leaders had established Sun Title, one of Michigan’s largest title agencies, ranked as an Inc. 5000 company for the past four consecutive years. In 2015, Sun Title fell victim to a social engineering fraud that cost the company nearly $200,000. Immediately following the fraud, Tom and Lawrence spent two years retrieving part of the stolen money and uncovering elaborate and complex schemes to defraud the real estate industry.

Through that experience, they identified a need in the marketplace to create a real-time solution to verify identities and documents in financial transactions – CertifID was born. Surviving a significant fraud event and combating monthly threats, the founders of CertifID understood the critical need for this solution in the title, real estate, and lending industries. Their experience, partnerships, and leadership team endorses CertifID as a forerunner in the fight to eliminate fraud in real estate and financial transactions.

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