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Title fraud is when someone steals the title of your home, seeking financial gain.
Title fraud is also known as house stealing, property fraud, & deed fraud. Title fraud occurs when someone fraudulently changes the name on your title from you to them, effectively stealing your home. Then, the criminals take out loans using your home as collateral, pocket the money and disappear.
Victims often don’t find out until they receive a past due notice, a foreclosure notice, or even an eviction. By then, the criminals are gone, and the victim is facing a long, emotional and financial legal battle that can take years and cost thousands of dollars to resolve.
Title fraud is more common than you’d think. And it’s easy. Criminals can steal your house with more ease and less risk than stealing your car. The FBI named it one of the fastest growing white collar crimes in America and, like other white collar crimes, title fraud remains under reported with losses totaling more than $5 billion in 2015.
Title fraud losses per incident average over $103,000, compared to identity theft losses that average $1,300 per incident.
Home Title Lock is the only company that provides nationwide monitoring and alerts, as well as access to a team of title experts.
While both are serious crimes, identity theft and title fraud are different. A thief does not need your social security number to steal your home. All a criminal needs is the name on your title and your street address, both of which are public record. Then, they take out the loans using your home as collateral, and disappear.
In the event your home is stolen, identity theft prevention services will be able to notify you only in the instance the crook uses your name and social security number, rather than an alias. Home Title Lock monitors using your property address. You will be alerted when new documents are recorded that affect your property value or home ownership, regardless of the name on the property title.
Thieves don’t want to live in your home. Rather, they seek the money your home’s equity can provide. They use that equity to take out as many loans as possible—a simple credit line, a second mortgage, a refinancing, a home improvement loan, etc. Then they pocket the money and disappear, leaving you in a home with potentially hundreds of thousands in debt. And you don’t know a thing about it.
Everything a thief needs to steal your home is public record—your street address and the name on your title.
While these crimes are often committed by strangers both foreign and domestic, they can also be someone much closer to the home such as family members or caretakers.
The County Recorder’s Office is not the real estate police.
The County Recorder is legally obligated to file a document, provided it is filled out correctly. It is not the responsibility of the County Recorder to verify the validity of a document.
Simply, no. Title insurance is required by lenders to ensure that when you bought your property you have a clean title. Title insurance only protects you up to the day you closed escrow and before, it does not cover future events. Your title is uninsured going forward and you will have to use your own money to defend against any criminal attack.
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