Cybersecurity BS, Title Fraud & Witness Addresses

Dear Members,

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and our Legal Education Department has put together a great series of programs for you.  Here is one NEXT TUESDAY that you might find very interesting.

Cybersecurity webinar.  Lisa Plaggemier, Executive Director at the National Cybersecurity Alliance, will join us to present A Whole Lotta BS (Behavioral Science) about Cybersecurity. Let’s be honest:  most of us find cybersecurity frustrating.  Thinking up long complex passwords, trying to find our phones when we need a code to log in to an account… it’s a pain!  And if we believe the scary cybersecurity headlines about cyber-attacks and data breaches, none of it seems to be working.  How do we make sense of it all?  If you find it confusing, you’re not alone.  New research from the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) reveals insights about the public’s attitudes and beliefs about security.  Via this interactive webinar, we’ll compare Fund Members’ attitudes on cybersecurity to those of participants in NCA’s study and cut through the confusion to give Members easy, practical advice on how to keep themselves, their families and firms safe and secure. Here’s the link to register for Lisa’s program:

New law on title fraud/more info.  Many of you attended the Popup webinar this week at which I was joined by Representative Will Robinson, a Fund Member from Bradenton. We reviewed the new law on various aspects of combatting deed or title fraud (this doesn't have anything to do with cybersecurity; more good old fashioned forgery!).  Here are some points raised by the many questions we received during the webinar and I thought it would be a good idea to blast them out to everyone:

  • Witness addresses came up a lot.  It is ok to use your office address when an employee acts as a witness.
  • Witness address requirement is effective January 1, 2024 but it is good to change your forms and processes now.
  • Witness address requirement applies to all "instruments by which the title to real property or any interest therein is conveyed, assigned, encumbered, or otherwise disposed of." It is part of the requirements for a document to be "entitled" to recordation.  So it applies to warranty deeds, quit claim deeds, mortgages, easements, etc.
  • Documents executed via RON must also meet this requirement.
  • If the notary acts as a witness (in addition to notarization), their address must be included just like other witnesses.
  • If a witness is concerned about privacy, then you will have to explain that this is required by law and if they refuse, another witness will need to be located.  This is why it is so important to communicate with signers ahead of time so they are aware of the requirements.
  • DoubleTime has made these changes, which are contained in the most recent release.  You need to install this version of DT in order to get the revised forms.
  • We can't avoid fake addresses.  If people are going to lie, they are going to lie.  But this statutory change will facilitate investigations after the fact and will help the industry (and law enforcement) tremendously.
  • No change to the information required from the notary.  Their address is not required.  But that information is available from the applicable state agency that regulates notaries in Florida and other states.
  • Here is a link to the new law.

That's all I have time for this week!  Let me know how we can help you.


Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
and General Counsel