Frequently Asked Questions on Home Title Fraud
What is Home Title Theft?
Home title theft is a crime in which a con artist causes a fraudulent deed to be filed at the county recorder’s office that makes it appear that they own the property. With that false deed in hand, the fraudster will try to take out a mortgage against your property or sell it to unsuspecting buyers. By doing this, the criminal takes equity out of your house and disappears before anybody knows what they have done.
How can I get a fraudulent deed off the title history of my house?
Unfortunately, in most cases you will have to hire a lawyer to file a type of lawsuit called a Quiet Title Action. This process can take anywhere from several months to several years depending on a number of factors.
Can’t the police do anything about home title theft?
Yes, and they do. If you report the crime, they will investigate and will hopefully be able to charge the perpetrator with fraud. Unfortunately, by the time this type of crime is discovered, the money is already gone and the criminal has had time to cover their tracks. Also, there are not nearly enough fraud detectives to investigate all fraud crimes, so many never get investigated.
Doesn’t my title insurance protect me from home title theft?
This is a good question without a simple answer. Some title insurance policies will pay an attorney to undo the damage caused by the home title thief. Around about the year 2000, the title insurance companies began to add this coverage to their policies. If you bought your title policy before 2000, you probably are not covered. If you bought your title policy after 2000, you might be covered. In any case, the policy does not do anything to prevent a home title thief from targeting your home.
Doesn’t the County Recorder’s Office prevent the filing of forged documents?
Unfortunately, there is not much they can do because nowadays every home computer has the technology to create a believable forged document.
Can I monitor my home title myself?
Yes, a few counties have digitized their records, so you can do this online. In most counties, you have to go to the County Recorder’s Office and look at the records on their computers. TitleShield™ checks your title frequently and consistently and makes the process convenient for a low price.