February 2024 | Buy and Sell Properties Online New York February 2024 | Buy and Sell Properties Online New York

Month: February 2024 Posts

What Is Home Title Theft? Here’s How To Protect Yourself

One of the growing concerns in the real estate industry is home title theft, also known as ‘deed theft’. Fraudulent means cause individuals to lose ownership of their homes in this type of theft.

Around 3,000 deed theft complaints were filed in New York City over the past few years. Not only this, but considering the whole picture, the FBI’s 2022 Internet Crime Report states that 11,727 individuals in the US suffered real estate losses of $350 million due to fraud. The report also gives an alarming indication that home title theft is on the rise and the industry is required to take notice.

Staying aware of such fraudulent activities is wise and essential. This enable you to know what steps to take in order to protect yourself with proper prevention techniques.

So, let’s try to understand more about home title theft. Further, we’ll also shed light on how you can protect yourself from such fraud.

Here we go!

What Is Home Title Theft?

When someone steals the title to someone else’s home is what a home title theft is. Also called deed theft, this activity involves fraudulently transferring a house deed into another person’s name.

Physical documents that prove the ownership of a person are called deeds, and thieves can try to steal deeds using several cunning and unexpected techniques. Some of their techniques involve pretending to be legal associations, breaching private and sensitive information, and even just going through trash cans to steal personal details.

How Does The Home Title Theft Occur?

In this kind of fraud, title thieves use stolen personal information to forge a deed, making it look like they are the owner of the property. This means that they can impersonate homeowners to forge deeds to deceitfully sell the property for a profit or perhaps take advantage of the home equity that the actual homeowner has accrued by taking out a home equity loan.

If they target an empty house, such as an unoccupied vacation home or rental property, they can sell it and make money without your knowing by forging a deed.

In some cases, they might also try to offer “refinancing” to defraud elderly people or struggling homeowners in crisis. After that, the transaction is recorded as a house sale, giving the thief ownership of the house.

How To Prevent It?

1. Monitor Your Correspondence

It may indicate that someone has moved without your awareness if you suddenly cease getting bills or other crucial mail. Additionally, make sure your deed and mortgage statement are stored securely, and keep an eye on other critical documents you may have.

2. Watch Over Your Property

Report any unusual behavior in your neighborhood or the arrival and departure of strangers from your home to the police. In addition to providing protection for vacant homes, security system installation can discourage criminals from taking important documents like mortgage statements and deeds.

3. Use Caution When Revealing Personal Information

Bank statements and other undesirable documents containing your personal information should be discarded. Keep your birth certificate and social security card out of your pockets, and only divulge sensitive information online or over the phone to people you are certain you can trust.

4. Keep An Eye On Your Credit Report

Every year, you have the right to a free credit report from each of the three main credit reporting bureaus. You can identify questionable activity, such as newly opened accounts in your name and unauthorized adjustments to already-existing accounts, by routinely checking your credit report.

5. Obtain Title Insurance For Owners

Get coverage right away if you did not choose to get an owner’s title insurance policy at closing. If there are any liens or claims made against the property while you are the owner, this coverage can defend you. Without title insurance, individuals may find title protection services useful, but they often encounter fraud within these services.

What To Do If You Are A Victim Of Home Title Theft?

If your deed goes missing, remember that not every missing deed demands concern. You can request a fresh copy of your deed from the local county clerk’s office if it has gone missing. But if you suspect that someone stole your deed, you may have good reason to be concerned about deed theft.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides the following suggestions to anyone who has been the victim of house title theft or who thinks they might be a victim of this fraud:

  • Get in touch with any related company where you believe there has been fraud with you.
  • Set up a fraud alert and get credit reports from the main credit bureaus.
  • Inform the Federal Trade Commission about your identity theft case.
  • File an official complaint to the local police department.

Although dealing with home title theft can be extremely unsettling and upsetting, it’s critical that you act quickly to take desired measures and also ensure you interact thoroughly with the authorities.

The Final Say

Home title theft is a grave offense that, if unchecked, can have disastrous impacts on you. It’s wise to keep a watchful eye on your property. Also, to pay extra attention to any sensitive and personal information and documents. That might be the target of modern scams.

In case you suspect that you have fallen prey to home title theft, a search for a home’s title. You can also do this yourself. To accomplish this, go to the county clerk’s office in the area where your property is located. Then obtain the relevant property information.

Proactively safeguarding yourself and avoiding title theft is the key to preventing home title theft.

That is it! We really hope this helps you.

If you are looking for professional support to ease and securely conduct your real estate transactions in New York, get in touch with Elite Properties today!

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