Home Title Fraud- What Is It and How to Avoid It
Home title fraud occurs when a criminal fraudulently claims ownership of your home to use as loan collateral. To achieve this, criminals will access public records to acquire your home title information, plagiarize your name to transfer title ownership to themselves, file the updated title paperwork in a county courthouse, and use your home as collateral to secure a loan for themselves. By the time the perpetrator is caught, the damage done to the victim can be devastating. Below are some actions you can take to help ensure you don’t fall victim to title fraud.
1. Don’t Let Your Mail Pile Up
Do you wait days before collecting your mail? Or let mail pile up when you’re out of town? Although convenient, this neglect can open you up to title fraud. Have a friend or a neighbor swing by to get your mail instead!
2. Monitor Your Bills
If your routine bills like utilities or water don’t come in the mail, be cautious there’s no fraudulent activity taking place. Once a scammer has your home address, oftentimes they will reroute your mail somewhere else.
3. Know the Signs
Know what fraudsters are looking for to protect you and your family from an attack. A criminal committing title fraud is looking for a property that meets the following criteria: the property is paid off, owned by someone elderly and/or unassuming, or the property is infrequently used.
4. Check Your Deed Status Regularly
Make it a habit to consistently check on the status of your deed to prevent anyone from stealing your title.
5. Update Passwords Regularly
Regularly update passwords to important accounts to ensure that critical information is not easy for wrong-doers to access.
Title fraud happens quickly, but can take months or even years to resolve. Protect your livelihood by being smart, secure with your information, and proactive. Refer back to this list to stay up to date on the latest tricks you can use to safeguard your important home documents.