The FBI reported that real estate fraud cost 11,727 victims nearly $400 million. Fraudsters use many different methods to get your money. These include email phishing and wire transfer fraud. They also try identity theft, spoofing and spoofing.
These scams are aimed at people who are in the middle of buying or selling a house. The title fraud targets homeowners who have already purchased their home.
What is title fraud, and how can it be prevented? Take a look at the details.
What is title fraud?
The term “home title fraud” is used to describe someone who goes behind your back to transfer the title of your home to their name or make financial changes. They can steal money or property, or both.
As a key part of title fraud, identity fraud is also involved. This involves creating a fake deed which looks exactly like the original. The homeowner’s finances are also used to obtain new loans on the property. This would not be possible without stealing the homeowner’s identity.
What is Title Fraud?
Home title fraud can take many different forms. The thieves must use different methods to accomplish the same goal to reduce their chances of being caught. Some of the common ways they commit title fraud are:
Fraudulent sales. The creation of a convincing deed to fraudulently market homes or buildings which are not occupied or have never been inhabited. This scam has targeted short-term rentals as well as vacant buildings, vacant lands, and rental properties.
Refinance. Applying to refinance. If approved, you’ll be left with a mortgage that you didn’t really apply for. The thief will walk away with the equity. You still own your house, but you’ve lost the money that you invested in it.
Line of Credit. The thieves can use your stolen identity to steal your equity and apply for a HELOC, just like they would if you were refinancing.
Homeowners who find it difficult to pay their bills are often in a desperate search for a way to raise their head above water. Scammers will take advantage of homeowners who are struggling to make their payments by pretending that they represent a legitimate business offering a great refinance. Unaware homeowners sign over their rights to property when they rush to complete the process. They lose their house instead of receiving more affordable payments.
How to Protect Yourself from Title Fraud
You are not alone if you find the idea of home title fraud frightening. Some victims have horrific stories. There are some things you can do to safeguard yourself and your home.
Learn to Educate yourself
You should be more cautious about situations that sound too good to true after reading this article. You cannot stop there. Scammers always try to stay ahead of the game so that they don’t catch on.
Continue to educate yourself about common scams.
Monitor Your Credit
It is vital to regularly monitor your credit score, as a large part of the fraud involving home titles involves identity theft or loans against your property. Check your credit report for any errors.
Investigate any suspicious activity rather than dismissing it. You never know what may be a fraud.
Keep on Top of Your Mail
Look at your mail. Take a closer inspection of anything that seems unfamiliar or different. If you do not receive the mail you expect, it could be that someone is trying to steal your identity to commit title fraud.
Invest in Title Insurance
Title insurance covers you against many things, including fraudulent claims made against your property. Your title insurance policy will cover you if someone attempts to steal your property. You will not have to worry about your defense or legal fees.
You still have questions about home title fraud?
Cities Title has the answers to your questions on home title fraud and how you can protect yourself.