What are the consequences of home title fraud?
There are many consequences of home title fraud. However, it is important to note that legally your property cannot be stolen by home title fraud. That does not lessen the seriousness of this crime.
Upon perfecting the home title fraud, the fraudster stands to gain a fortune. For example, with record title to your property, the fraudster can either sell your property to a third party or steal money from unsuspecting lenders by “borrowing” against the equity of the property. The fraudster then escapes with the money and leaves the innocent homeowner to deal with the fallout. This is where it can get very expensive for the true owner. Best case, the defrauded buyer or lender accepts your side of the story and readily agree to disclaim their interest to the property. However, the chances of that happening is rare. Worst case, and unfortunately the usual case, the innocent homeowner has to clear his or her name to the property by filing a civil action. The good news is that once you get a court to adjudicate title in your name, you will not be held responsible for having to pay any loan that the fraudster took out or be liable to any third party who “purchased” the property from the fraudster. The bad news is that it is very expensive to prove your case in court. Litigation is lengthy and will most certainly require one or more handwriting experts to prove that someone forged your signature on the deed.
How do you know if you’ve become a victim of home title fraud? What kinds of things should you look out for?
You can either directly and indirectly learn that you are a potential victim of home title fraud. Some direct indications of home title fraud involve being caught in foreclosure proceedings even though you have paid off your mortgage. If you hold vacant property, another direct sign is if your vacant property is actually being occupied.
Indirect signs can also alert you to home title fraud. Many times, the fraudsters will change your address where you receive documents from the tax collector’s office or utility companies. Thus, an indirect sign of possible home title theft is failing to receive your property tax bill. Or, you may have missed utility bills that you otherwise would have received. On the flip side, if the property is vacant, an indirect sign of home title fraud is actually receiving a utility bill, or a utility bill with usage that is strikingly higher. For those of you that rent property, perhaps your tenants will suddenly stop paying you rent. If this happens, it could be that your tenants are paying rent to someone else.
The consequences of home title fraud are many, and they can potentially be serious. Our attorneys at Schorr Law are well equipped to help you deal with the consequences of home title fraud as well as many other real estate fraud matters. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, send us a message here, or give us a call at (310) 954-1877. You can also send us an email to email@example.com