Home Title Theft/Fraud Is One Of The Least Common Crimes!

With the FBI reporting only 11,727 of real estate and rental fraud victims in 2022, these crimes still accounted for over $400 Million in losses! You can take some easy, quick and free steps to minimize the odds that you'll be a title theft & fraud victim!

 So if you are asking should you pay for home title monitoring services, similar to how you lock your credit, or how you pay for identity thieft monitoring... ask yourself if you want to pay for vehicle collison insurance for a car you rarely drive, especially when the car is barely worth more than the cost of the car insurance? 

Most Agree there's no need to pay even a small $79/year fee, for potential title theft alerts, if you can spend 5-10 minutes creating your own free and automatic potential title theft alerts!

What Exactly Is Home Title Theft And Fraud…

Home title theft can occur when someone illegally steals an identity, and pretends to be the property owner, to take ownership of the property. They do this by transferring the title to the real estate into their name or another person's name. Identity theft can make it easier to commit title fraud since the thief will need to make a forged real estate property deed look legitimate. Home title theft can happen in several ways, including:

  • A fraudulent refinance of real estate property happens when a person pretends to be the owner, withdraws the  equity which is the difference between what the property is worth and any existing mortgage debt on the property.  While the owners still retain possession of the property, the theif used the owner's identity, to convert the equity in the property into money that the theif received, while leaving the owner with a first and/or second mortgage that they need to pay off that could total virtually 100% of what the property is worth.
  • Similarly, a theif can access your equity by taking out a fraudlent home equity line of credit (HELOC) that will create a mountain of debt that the owner will be responsible to pay off.
  • Thieves can also forge deeds to sell uninhabited real estate, such as rental buildings, vacation homes or homes that are about to be sold.
  • Another scenario targets homeowners who are in financial hardship by offering the owners a fake refinancing opportunity. At closing, the homeowner unknowingly signs paperwork for a home sale though making the scammer new owner.

In the refinance schemes, since the owner is not aware that the fradulent loans were taken out on the property, the owner usually only becomes aware when the mortgage lender has filed with the courts to foreclose on the property (take ownership of the real estate) because no payments were ever made on the fradulent mortgage or home equity loans. In addition to potentially loosing the real estate, the owner's credit has been typically destroyed as part of this process!

Equally as bad, with the last two scenarios, the owner typically only becomes aware the property has been stolen when someone has taken possesion of the property and presents paper work showing their recent purchase of the property. 

Note: If you suspect or believe your title, to a real estate property, has been stolen then you should contact a real estate attorney immediately. They will be able to provide you with legal advice for your circumstance.


Can Free Real Estate Fraud Alerts Prevent Title Theft & Fraud?

Unfortunately, real estate Fraud Alerts can't prevent fraud from happening... Still this early warning process allows property owners to quickly take appropriate actions when it turns out that fraudulent activity has occurred.

Real Estate Fraud Alerts, provided by your local County Land Records office, are county specific, and notify subscribers each time a document is recorded with the subscriber's name on it in the participating County Land Records office. Subscribers can typically select one method of notification including, an email, text message, or voice call. Subscribers can also create separate alerts for multiple personal, business, and trust names with the same or different contact methods for each alert. These notifications usually include the County Location; Document Number, Document Type, Recorded Date, and the matched Party Name (personal, business, or trust name) and will remain active as long as the county continues to participate in this program.

How "Potential Fraud Activity" Alerts Work, And The "Best Practices"

Some searches solutions are linked only to specific properties and other solutions are based only on a last name. While others may also include your first name, best practices are to only use your first initial to generate the greatest possible number of relevant alerts. When entering a last name only or a last name and first initial enter the last name "," and Intial (Smith, J). If you go by a nick name, a hyphenated name or your name is often misspelled than you should create additional separate searches for each iteration. If your last name is a common name like Smith, and you only use your first initial, and the system does not allow you to link to specific properties, then it's possible you will get alerts for another individual with the same last name (and first name.) Since your goal is to learn sooner vs later, of any title theft or fraud, you want your searches to notify you of any potential problematic activity. For this reason, you should also never include any suffix of your name (Jr., Sr., etc.) Note: If your name, email address, or phone number changes, then you will need to replicate your old searches with the new/updated information.


*Note: If You Did Not Already Read "TITLE THEFT/FRAUD EARLY WARNING ALERT DETAILS" Please Do That First!


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