What is title fraud?
Real estate title fraud is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences for homeowners. It involves criminals stealing a homeowner’s identity to refinance or sell their home without them knowing, leaving the victim with no legal recourse and unable to access their property. Title fraud can be used to drain equity from homes, negatively impacting individuals’ credit ratings and financial security. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from this type of fraud. In this article, we’ll look at steps you can take to help safeguard your real estate title and keep your home safe from would-be fraudsters.
To protect yourself from real-estate title fraud, take the following precautions:
Be on alert for suspicious activity: Be aware of any unusual activity related to your home, such as unauthorized changes to ownership documents or the sudden appearance of new lenders on your title. Remember that if you receive an unexpected letter or call regarding a change in ownership or loan on your property, it’s likely an attempt at fraud.
Hire an Ottawa real estate lawyer: Before you purchase or refinance your home, make sure to hire a qualified Ottawa real estate lawyer who can help ensure everything is in order, and all legal documents are accurate and valid.
Exercise caution when dealing with tenants: If you’re renting out your home, make sure to thoroughly vet potential tenants before signing a lease agreement, and never give them access to documents that could be used to perpetrate title fraud.
Get title insurance: Title insurance is a crucial measure for protecting your real estate investment from title fraud. Title insurance can safeguard homeowners and lenders against any losses resulting from irregularities in the ownership of a given piece of real estate, such as criminal activity. This type of insurance policy provides financial security and peace of mind, especially when it comes to high value properties. Title insurance companies use sophisticated risk assessment models to identify potential fraudulent activity and provide coverage for related losses. This means that if you fall victim to title fraud, the title insurer will step in to help you recover your losses. In addition to providing financial protection, title insurers also offer expert guidance on how to protect yourself from real estate fraud by verifying ownership documents, researching public records and performing other due diligence services.
Monitor your credit report: Regularly check your credit report for any suspicious activity or property ownership changes.
Protect documents related to your home: Keep all documents related to your home, like deeds and mortgages, locked away in a safe place where they won’t be found by fraudsters looking to commit title fraud.
Report threats and suspicious activity: If you receive any threatening or suspicious communications related to your property, immediately report them to law enforcement authorities.
Real estate title fraud is an increasingly common crime and one that can cause serious financial hardship for victims. But by following these steps, you can help protect yourself from becoming a victim. Consider working with an Ottawa real estate lawyer to ensure your title is secure and all legal documents are accurate and valid. Additionally, make sure to monitor your credit report regularly for suspicious activity and keep all important documents in a safe place away from potential criminals. By taking these steps, you can help safeguard yourself from real estate title fraud.
This article is intended only as general information, which may only be applicable in some situations and should only be relied upon with consulting with a qualified Canada Real Estate Lawyer or Ottawa Condo Lawyer.
If you need more information about title insurance and legal counsel on Ottawa real estate law, then don’t hesitate to reach out to Nirman’s Law for assistance. Nirman’s Law is Ottawa’s premier law firm for real estate matters, offering both traditional in-person legal services and cutting-edge virtual real estate services.