Instances of home title fraud have increased in recent years. Falling victim to this fraudulent behavior can create a significant legal problem for the rightful owner of any piece of real estate. All homeowners should be familiar with home title fraud to better avoid being victimized by this crime in the future.
It Begins With Identity Theft
Most cases of home title fraud begin with identity theft. In order to transfer the ownership of a home, a deed must be signed and notarized. The notary public will ask for documents verifying the identity of the person transferring the title of a home. Criminals can obtain your personal information by searching online or employing phishing schemes. Once they get your social security number, birth date, and other pertinent information, criminals can fabricate a photo identification to show to the notary. The notarized deed will then be filed with a government agency, transferring ownership of your home without your knowledge or consent.
Some Properties are More Vulnerable
Not all homes are good targets for title fraud. Criminals typically look for properties that they can easily dupe an unsuspecting buyer into purchasing. This includes homes that are vacant, homes that serve as vacation properties, or homes that are purchased as investment properties. Once the fraudulent title has been transferred into a criminal's name, they can sell the home and pocket the money. It is much easier to show and sell a vacant home, which is why these properties are often targeted by title fraud rings.
You Can Fight Home Title Fraud
Discovering that the deed to your home has been fraudulently transferred to someone else can be very frightening. You can face an uphill battle when it comes to proving the fraud in order to regain legal ownership of your home.
It's important that you hire an experienced real estate lawyer as quickly as possible. Legal representation can allow you to evict any individuals living in your property illegally, and an attorney will be able to help gather evidence of title fraud. Once this evidence is presented to government officials, the fraudulent home title will be voided and you will be able to re-file your original deed and title. An attorney can then act as a liaison between you and the police department as the investigation into the title fraud that targeted your home develops.
Home title fraud is not something to take lightly. Work closely with a lawyer to secure your assets and protect your property against fraudulent transfer in the future.