Title fraud thieves could steal your home while you're still living in it. How to protect yourself

John Gregory Image
Thursday, April 25, 2024
Here's how to protect your home from title fraud
Impacts of title fraud can be devastating. It usually involves identity theft and a forged deed, and it can result in your home being taken from you.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It's a risk many homeowners might not consider: Your house could get snatched away from you -- while you're living inside it. Here are tips on how to keep your home sweet home safe from title fraud.

Your home or property may be the biggest investment you have, and it's hard to image someone stealing it. But title theft can happen, and the implications can be devastating.

"After they fraudulently obtain title to your home, they can sell the property, they can borrow against it, but it is important to remember these are hypotheticals," said Arash Sadat, a real estate attorney.

Title theft usually involves a form of identity theft and forgery. Once a thief gets hold of your information, they forge a deed with the help of a corrupt notary.

The crimes usually involve vacant properties, like vacation rentals.

Here is what you can do to protect yourself:

  • Check your property regularly.
  • Watch your mail for unusual bills.
  • Keep an eye out for alerts. Some counties, like Los Angeles, send out advisories when titles change.

If you do fall victim to title fraud get ready for a legal fight.

"The only recourse that really you have is to go to court, and have the court deem the deed to be invalid and void," Sadat said.

And that can take weeks or months, and in the meantime, your property is in legal limbo.

Title theft is rare, but the implications should keep every property owner vigilant.

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