The Finance Blogger


Real Estate Fraud & Title Insurance

Real Estate FraudHow much do you know about real estate title fraud?  or identity theft? The vast majority of people never have to worry about this type of fraud, however like health insurance, sometimes we need it and title insurance is much the same. It is a question of cost vs. the risk of being a victim to real estate fraud.

Educating yourself about possible risks and dangers is the best way to protect yourself against real estate title fraud.

This article and subsequent articles that we  will post on this blog will  guide you through how this type of fraud occurs, what to keep an eye out for, and steps you can take to protect yourself. At the very least if you do not want to purchase title insurance, at least take the time to read this post to understand the risk and how you can protect yourself, your home and your family!

WHAT IS REAL ESTATE FRAUD?

Real estate title fraud, a problem that is widespread across Canada and the United States and has recently gained increased public and media attention. Learning about how it occurs and how to protect yourself can help you avoid becoming a victim. There have been recent cases profiled in the United States of these fraudsters taking over titles of multiple properties in various cities and then selling them out from under the unsuspecting owners while they were away on vacation!

How does real estate title fraud occur? When real estate title fraud occurs, a fraudster has typically done one or all of the following:

  • Forged the property transfer deed;
  • Registered the title to the property in his or her name;
  • Forged  a discharge of the home’s existing mortgage; and
  • Borrowed money from a bank against the clear title.

Real estate title fraud costs you money – and lots of time as well as emotional stress as you attempt to deal with trying to get your home back.

  • The average case of real estate title fraud costs the victim in the range of $300,000, which includes legal fees and discharging mortgages that you are now responsible for.

By comparison, the RCMP estimates the average credit card fraud case in Canada to be valued at $1,200 a far lower fee than  real estate fraud.  If the high cost is not bad enough consider the following issues:

  • The homeowner is responsible to prove the crime occurred.
  • Restoring a property’s title involves a significant financial and emotional cost.

Just think about the emotional stress of trying to get your house back. The one you have paid a lot of money for and paid for over the years, only to have some thief take it away from you and perhaps run up debt on your behalf. Contrary to popular belief, the old axiom, ” Innocent until proven Guilty”  does not apply here. As far as the bank is concern you owe the money and they expect you to pay regardless of the circumstances. It can be very frustrating to say the least in dealing with this type of situation.

Credit Fraud

In situations of credit card fraud, banks will often allow victims to suspend payment until an investigation takes place. Most banks will cancel your credit card and issue you a new one to use while the investigation takes place, particularly if you have a good credit rating.  There is little protection when a mortgage is fraudulently registered against your property unless you have title insurance.

Title Insurance

Title insurance can be an effective and inexpensive way to ensure you are protected. Most will cover legal expenses related to restoring title and they are available to existing homeowners long after they have purchased their properties.

Some companies will also offer identity theft insurance and you can  purchase identity theft coverage when you obtain a title insurance policy.

Pay Attention

With a little work and paying attention to details most people can avoid identity theft and real estate fraud. Always be vigilant and never let your guard down.  In our next post we will cover Identity theft and what it is and how to watch for it.

Our final post we will discuss how to protect yourself from both identity theft and real estate tile fraud.

There is a huge difference between being paranoid, vs. just keeping an eye on your personal details and following a few simple rules outlined in this series of blogs. If you have suggestions or would like to leave a comment please do so. We will add them to our blog if they make sense and are not considered spam.

Stay tuned for the next post, were we will talk about how to protect yourself from identity theft and real estate fraud!

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One Response to “Real Estate Fraud & Title Insurance”

  1. What a great resource this is. Discussing legal issues from the laymen s perspective is really valueable. Keep up the good work

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