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Old 12-01-2003, 01:08 PM
J in Florida's Avatar
J in Florida J in Florida is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Central Florida (outside Hopland)
State: Florida
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 1,951

I was talking with another appraiser over the weekend who is having trouble with one of her state registereds. Seems the guy is a computer whiz and has helped her out with her computer system, but sucks out loud at appraisal. She is concerned that the guy may steal here sig and work behind her back. He is not currently doing any work for her. I told her I would ask the forum:

A. Since he's not around, is it even possible he could swipe the signature (after all, it is just a file)?

B. If he already has, and is working behind her back, presumably attaching her sig as supervisory appraiser, how can she find out and what could she do to him if she did find out?

C. How much trouble would she be in for "letting" her signature get stolen?

With business slowing down, and work drying up, this situation my come up for a lot of us.
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Old 12-01-2003, 01:21 PM
Pamela Crowley (Florida)'s Avatar
Pamela Crowley (Florida) Pamela Crowley (Florida) is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Wherever We Are Parked
State: Florida
Professional Status: Retired Appraiser
Posts: 25,254

#1: Have her send in the form to have him removed as a trainee under her.

#2: IF she REALLY does suspect he has and is using her signature, she needs to call FREAB and tell them.

#3: She might want to call some of the lenders that she suspects he might be working for and inform them that she isn't signing any of his work. If she really suspects he is doing appraisals for any specific lenders and using her signature, I would put it in writing to those lenders. They are then on notice and can't claim ignorance about the fraud. Certified letter would be a good idea.

Yes, I do think we are going to see a lot more of this.
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Old 12-01-2003, 01:29 PM
Mountain Man Mountain Man is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: GA
State: Georgia
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
Posts: 15,448

Another suggestion. I'd call my software vendor, explain why I want a new signature disk, pay to have a new one done, and slightly change the signature. Just enough so that if someone did use your old signature, you can show the defrauded client what your current signature looks like. Sorry, but that isn't Mine.... must be a stolen identity. B)
Highest and Best Use... it is more than just a check box on a form. Look it up, learn it, use it.
Old 12-01-2003, 04:45 PM
Em Tee Em Tee is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Bay Area, California
State: California
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 2,378

Since ANYONE could scan an appraiser's signature and use it for their own evil purposes, I would think it's rather like proving credit card fraud. A pain in the a$$ but it can be proven!

Other than that, ditto what Pam said.
Old 12-01-2003, 07:00 PM
Pat Butler Pat Butler is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
State: Illinois
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 4,011

If she is certain, then call the police. Identity theft is a crime.
Old 12-01-2003, 07:40 PM
Don Clark's Avatar
Don Clark Don Clark is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
State: Virginia
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 9,044

B) I have another idea. I had a student in one of my courses a few years ago who had someone use his license number and sign his name to the report. Not digital, just a signature that looked like his. He found out about it when an FBI agent called hime and told him to remain in his office until he came to see him. When the agent arrived he showed the appraiser 9 files. The appraisers immediate response was "I did not do an appraisal on those properties". Asked how he knew so quickly, the appraiser demonstrated his signature and showed the agent his hard files. No such addresses existed. To make a long story short, the FBI was investigating a major mortgage fraud. Seems like a local(Northern virginia) mortgage company was making loans on peoples homes who had no idea that mortgages were being made. They were using several appraisers license numbers and fake signatures. The principles of the company are now in prison. CALL THE FBI.

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Old 12-01-2003, 08:38 PM
jtrotta jtrotta is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: connecticut

Posts: 2,664

you are as easy a target as walkin in to buy a new car; you provide the dealer with all your personal info; you have a clean credit history and after you leave - your data gets pushed onto to some *poor credit slob* and he walks out wit a new car.

you won't know til they come lookin for their car at YOUR house remember they used all your personal info. to get this creep a car; what else are they doin wit YOUR info

Folks - be real careful who yer given all your personal data to B)

Old 12-02-2003, 12:06 AM
hal hal is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Ya ba daba do
State: Michigan
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 154

Clearly if this guy is smart then he will be able to get her signature. Thus the form should be filled with the state indicating that he is not working for her. Then start building her case. Get proof! Sneak around if she has to (as he will have done) and forward your proof to the state. This should freak the wiz some. Hopefully if will be enough. Good Luck. Keep us informed so we can be prepared for what is coming down the pipe for some of us soon.
Old 12-02-2003, 07:21 AM
Pine Tree's Avatar
Pine Tree Pine Tree is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southern Maine
State: Maine
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 318

It occurs to me that simply notifying the state board that she is no longer supervising this appraiser establishes a cut off date: nothing after that date would be a valid signature.. Having said that, I agree that any and all measures should be taken to protect one's signature file.

Gets kinda tiresome sometimes, doesn't it?

Peace, Wendy
Old 12-02-2003, 10:57 AM
DJ Ware DJ Ware is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Tampa/Orlando
State: Florida
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 41

I have attached my fingerprint to my digital signature. I am assuming that if someone were to scan it they would have to edit the signature and potentially screw up on the fingerprint. Any thoughts about this?
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