Title fraud and forgery are severe issues in the United States, recording around 9,600 incidents from 2017 to 2020. When individuals and organizations carry out these crimes, they victimize homeowners, who fall deeper into debt due to fraudulent loans made on their properties.
Unfortunately, these offenses only are discovered once the damage has caught up with the victims. Out of nowhere, homeowners might receive notices for overdue repayments on unknown mortgages. Sometimes, they learn about unauthorized title or deed transactions, affecting their ownership rights and mortgage obligations. Victims can report these incidents to the police, but the perpetrators often use fake identities to commit the crime, making them challenging to trace.
Still, local authorities know of title fraud’s grave effects on unsuspecting victims. Officials advise homeowners to take the following measures to prevent or detect title fraud incidents early:
- Regularly check and monitor online records or registries containing information about the property.
- If the property has no occupants, periodically visit it to check for illegal residents.
- Check and organize mail regularly, making it easier to notice signs of potential title fraud.
- Provide tax officers and assessors with the most updated contact details to receive notices properly.
- Immediately file a report with the district attorney after detecting suspicious activities involving the property.
Additionally, homeowners can seek services that provide regular credit reports so they can watch for indications that someone else has access to sensitive personal information. This might not secure the title but could keep homeowners updated if suspicious entities have stolen their identity.
Being vigilant to prevent fraudulent title transactions
Constantly reviewing property information on county records could be tedious but worth the effort. Doing so could help homeowners notice unauthorized transactions as early as possible. Realtors, lending services and other title firms are also taking steps to address title fraud.
Removing the risk of falling prey to title fraud is nearly impossible. However, practicing preventative measures could help safeguard the interest of homeowners and their lenders.