“What do you get when you combine two popular rackets these days – identity theft and mortgage fraud? A totally new kind of crime: house stealing.” Quoted from the FBI’s website by the same title “House Stealing.”
That’s right! You end up NOT owning your home!
You may think this is an old story based on the FBI’s site. But wait, it is still happening when you look at more recent articles on the problem. The main issue is that people just are not paying attention to what is often their greatest asset – their home!
The crime is sometimes called
- Home Title Fraud (https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/what-is-home-title-fraud/
- Deed Fraud https://www.lifelock.com/learn-fraud-deed-fraud-losing-your-home-with-the-stroke-of-a-pen.html
- Real Estate Deed Fraud https://www.deeds.com/deed-fraud/
Regardless of what it’s called, the issue is the same. They take title to the property through fraud and then sell. Or a variation, they fraudulently claim to be the true owners through ID theft, sell it and walk away with the sale proceeds (even when you’re still living there). Or another variation, they prey on people claiming to buy the home from them using fake ID’s, then walk away with the bank’s money and the true owner’s lose title too.
All the articles linked above provide great background information on the issue as well as suggested ways to watch out for it, recognize it, and lastly (if a victim) to fix it.
This article goes into more detail about fighting it https://www.deeds.com/deed-fraud/property-owners.html
Finally, Google your counties record office where deeds are filed and see who your property says it is owned by. Or call or visit that office. Ask if they have any suggestions to notify you if anything changes about your home ownership such as is a new deed filed? How do they confirm you filed the change, and not a thief?
You can’t be too sure about anything or take anything for granted these days. Said another way, you can’t be too careful!
Photo by Ruel Calitis on Stocksnap.