A type of fraud known as “home title fraud” occurs when a con artist steals your home and either sells it or takes out a loan against it without your knowledge. The property goes into foreclosure if the mortgage is not paid in full.
Criminals steal a home by forging a deed. They then submit it to the proper authorities and illegally transfer ownership of the home.
By easily forging of a deed, a criminal can steal a house. They will illegally transfer ownership of the house by submitting the documentation thru the proper channels (County recording office, etc.). Do you think the employees at the County are protecting you? They absolutely are not.
When the title to your home is stolen, the criminals either sell it to unsuspecting buyers or make up buyers (partners in crime who use stolen identities) or sell it to the wrong people. The con artists also have the option of taking out a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) on the property or multiple mortgages. They vanish once they have the money. Months or years can go by without you realizing this crime has been committed. We are here to make sure that can be avoided.
In 2008, the FBI issued a warning about home title fraud, which was the most recent scam. Houses can be stolen by thieves in ways that homeowners are unaware of. The term “home title fraud” describes what it is and how you can avoid it.
What exactly is mortgage fraud?
The crime of forging a deed to steal a home is known as “home title fraud.” After that, they illegally transfer ownership of the house without the consent of the actual homeowners. Basically, this is where a con artist steals your house and uses it as collateral for a loan or sells it without your knowledge. The property goes into foreclosure if the mortgage is not paid in full.
The con artist begins by locating a property they wish to steal, typically one with equity. After that, they will fabricate documents to convey ownership of the house to themselves. They now legally own the property after submitting the necessary paperwork to the appropriate authorities. The property is then sold to unknowing third parties or home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are taken out against the property without being paid back. Multiple mortgages have also been taken out on the property by some criminals.
The FBI says that criminals can take other approaches when they want to steal property. Con artists look for a vacant house, such as a vacation home or rental property, and do some research to find out who the owner is. After that, they steal the owner’s identity, transfer the title to themselves in bad faith, and take the money from selling the house or getting a HELOC. In some instances, the burglars steal a home where the family is still living. They sell the house to a buyer without telling the family. In a house that they no longer own, the rightful owners continue to pay their mortgage.
How can a title to a home be taken?
Identity theft and mortgage fraud are two common scams combined in home title fraud. The fraudster then steals another person’s identity after finding a property they want to steal. They fabricate fake social security cards, IDs, and other documents with the stolen identity. The criminals then transfer property to their fictitious identity by forging your signature on a bogus bill of sale. For the deed to be recorded, the seller, two witnesses, and a notary must sign in many states.
A forged deed is the basis of home title fraud. The title and the deed are also transferred when a seller (the grantor) sells a property to a buyer (the grantee). The legal document that proves your ownership of the property is called a deed. A title is not a tangible document but rather a concept that indicates who legally owns the property.
The fake deed is typically delivered to the clerk of the court in your county and recorded in the public records of that county. The court clerk only checks that the paperwork is filled out correctly; they don’t check to see if the property was sold correctly. The criminals legally acquire the property after submitting the forms to the county clerk.
If someone steals your home title, what happens?
When the title to your home is stolen, the criminals either sell it to unsuspecting buyers or make up buyers (partners in crime who use stolen identities) or sell it to the wrong people. They can also decide to get a home equity line of credit against the property. They vanish once they have the money. Sadly, as the actual homeowner, you are unaware of the theft until it has already occurred. Because the documents are false and the house does not legally belong to the con artists, their goal is to profit quickly from the scam and then run away, making it difficult for law enforcement to catch the criminals before it’s too late.
Home title fraud can, regrettably, cause victims to lose their homes. Due to the necessity of involving the title company, lender, buyer, and seller, as well as taking the matter to court, attempting to resolve the issue can result in tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Your credit score may also be impacted by home title fraud.