How to Protect Yourself from Home Title Fraud
Published July 19, 2021
As a homeowner, you should be concerned about more than just burglars infiltrating your property –– a more serious form of theft is home title fraud.
This occurs when a bad actor affixes their name to your property title or deed, which can cost you a lot of money, time, and damage to your credit. Moreover, never assume that you are immune to home title fraud.
Recognize the facts. Be aware of warning signs. Consider taking action if you believe you are a victim. Learn how to protect your credit, property, and savings from title fraud. Additionally, consider title monitoring protection for your home.
Defining Home Title Fraud
Home title fraud occurs when someone gets a hold of your property title — typically through identity theft — in order to transfer ownership from your name to theirs. The fraudster can then use your equity as collateral to secure as many loans as possible. Often, the true owner is entirely unaware of what’s happening until the lender begins sending letters indicating their intention to foreclose on the property. For criminals skilled in identity theft, home title fraud can be a lucrative payoff.
Contrary to popular belief, home title fraud is different from mortgage fraud, which occurs when a prospective homebuyer, seller, or lender falsifies or omits critical information in order to obtain a mortgage loan approval or terms that the applicant would not usually qualify for.
How Often Does It Happen?
Once seen as uncommon, home title fraud is now considered one of the fastest-growing cybercrime schemes in the country by some. According to newly released data, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 2.1 million fraud reports from consumers in 2020, with imposter scams continuing to be the most frequently reported type of fraud.
sumers reported a loss of over $3.3 billion to fraud, up from $1.8 billion in 2019. Nearly $1.2 billion in losses were reported last year as a result of imposter scams, while consumers reported approximately $246 million in losses because of online shopping.
How Is Home Title Theft Committed?
Most of the time, home title fraud occurs as a result of identity theft. In addition, numerous transactions and document requests are made online, which increases the likelihood of information being stolen by criminals. Seniors are the most frequent targets because they typically have more equity in their homes and may be less experienced using the Internet or unfamiliar with the signs of fraud.
Additionally, individuals who own second homes, vacation homes, and real estate investment properties are targets of home title fraud. This group of homeowners may pay less attention to these properties than they do to their primary residences and may overlook notices or bills such as property tax bills, past-due notices, or foreclosure notices. This provides scammers a chance to commit fraud, and homeowners may not become aware of the problem until after the crime has been committed.
Protecting Yourself From Home Title Fraud
By exercising caution with your personal information, you can prevent scammers from stealing from you. The following is a list of ways to protect yourself against home title fraud:
Always check credit reports
Examining your credit report can assist you in identifying any financial transactions made in your name and determining if you have been a victim of identity theft.
Take some to evaluate incoming bills
Ensure that you receive all of your bills, including those for taxes, water, and mortgages. Failure to receive an anticipated bill could be a sign of home title fraud or even identity theft.
Be aware of your home information
Check your house’s information with your county’s deed office regularly to ensure nothing has been altered.
Ask third-party services for help
There are service providers available who can assist you in preventing home title fraud, either through title insurance or title locked. Conduct due diligence on any prospective companies before signing up, as scammers will also pose as these types of businesses.
How to Know You’re A Victim Of Home Title Fraud
Would you recognize the warning signs that your home’s title is in jeopardy? Several factors can serve as indicators. You simply need to be aware of the warning signs, which include some indicators of identity theft. You may be a home title fraud victim if you experienced any of the following:
- ceased to receive bills
- observed an increase in utility bills –– water bills or electricity –– at vacant or secondary properties
- ceased to receive tenant rent payments
- received information from a lender with whom you have never done business before
- received foreclosure notices
- been alerted to suspicious loans or new credit card lines under your name
If you have experienced any of those mentioned above, act quickly and follow the FTC’s guidance:
- Contact the companies involved where you believe fraud happened.
- Set up a fraud alert with the credit bureaus and obtain copies of your credit reports.
- Inform the FTC about identity theft.
- Report the incident to your local police department.
While the Internet and technology have improved our lives, the lack of security around our data has resulted in it being leaked. Identity thieves are committing identity theft with this information. In addition, they are obtaining lines of credit in the names of others and amassing massive debt.
Additionally, they utilize this identity theft to steal home titles you invested your time, energy, and money on and forge a deed, then sell the property under your nose. Unfortunately, it happens to thousands of people each year.
So keep in mind what this article discussed; concentrate on self-defense. Pay your bills on time, monitor your credit report, and take steps to protect yourself from home title fraud. Finally, keep an eye out for criminal activity to avoid being conned out of your home.
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About The Author
As a professional writer at many renowned websites Krizzia Paolyn has covered a wide range of topics in many industries. Her knack for uncovering important truths and conducting thorough research on each topic she writes about has helped thousands of people across the world.