Maybe it sounds impossible, but you will be surprised to know that it’s a real crime! According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), recent home title theft statistics show there were over 700 rental and real estate fraud victims in 2020, worth over $14.3 million in losses. In fact, they have found out that 65% of home title claims are fraud-related, and the number of home title theft scams is increasing rapidly these years.
And, if you have several properties to look after or any equity at home, you need to have a clear idea of home title theft. In today’s blog, we are going to discuss it in detail- What it is, how it happens, and much more. Let’s get started.
What Is a Home Title Theft and How Does It Happen?
Home title theft, also called real estate title theft or fraud, is where criminals steal your personal information regarding your property and use that to forge title paperwork. Doing so makes it easy to fool authorities and give them the deed of anyone else’s home. And, this deed theft is increasingly growing. Here’s how it happens:
- First, the fraudsters target your property, especially if it’s vacant with absentee landlords or with substantial equity.
- Next, they collect your personally identifiable details, including the name, address and phone number, alongside sensitive data, like passport or ID.
- Then, these fraudsters impersonate you and provide forged documents to home title companies, financial institutions or potential buyers while selling your home without letting you know.
- After that, they submit the same forged documents to the recorder’s office to obtain a notary to get the transfer of ownership legally approved. And, once it is successfully recorded, they get access to your home’s equity and try to sell it.
In fact, the scammers don’t stop at selling your property. After stealing your home title, they can do beyond that. Such as:
- Steal your home equity
- Rent your home
- Take out your mortgages and loans
- Harm your credit score, making it challenging to secure your mortgage, loans and even job
How to Know If You Are a Home Title Fraud Victim
If you want to ensure whether you are a victim of home title theft, here are the warning signs you need to look out for. And, if any of these is a YES, you need to take immediate action to protect your property title. For instance:
1: Mortgage letters you haven’t replied for
Have you recently received mortgage statements that you haven’t ever replied to? If yes, such communication is a huge red flag and points to the chances of your mortgage and property being taken out by someone else.
2: You don’t receive bills and mail anymore at your home-
When you suddenly stop getting mail or bills, the chances are that someone has changed your address. Fraudsters do so to steal your personal information for using them regarding home title theft.
3: Strange accounts found on your credit reports-
Fraudsters steal your personal and sensitive information and use it to create a new credit account while taking out loans under your name. Also, you may get notified about the change in the ownership status of your home.
4: Some stranger claims to have a rental agreement of your home-
Has someone from nowhere recently claimed a rental agreement on your home? If yes, you are a victim of home title fraud scams. It means criminals are performing different scams under your name and making other home buyers or tenants victims as well.
5: Receiving foreclosure letters-
Fraudsters can take out loans under your name by stealing your personal details but don’t pay them back. As a result, you receive foreclosure letters regarding liens on your property and foreclosure warnings, pointing to a YES that you are a home title theft victim.
Looking for Home Title Theft Protection to Keep Yourself Safe from Fraud?
Well, the best thing you can do is to obtain home title insurance and sign up for home title monitoring with Canada Title Monitoring. We can help you ensure your ownership rights stay protected while letting you be informed about every change to your property through our Title Tracker (SAAS software).
Also, you can rely on us to eliminate your title defects! Besides, to stay protected from home title theft scams, we suggest paying attention to your credit reports, incoming bills, and public reports on your home title.
Click here to get your home title monitoring now!