I’ve been hearing a lot of ads lately for a subscription service that promises to protect you and your property from title theft – for a monthly fee, of course. According to the ads, the FBI believes that title theft is the fastest growing cyber-crime. While the accuracy of that claim is not necessarily a given, the fact remains that in our electronic world, where just about everything we do is online, cyber criminals continue to find new ways to separate us from our money and property.
Title theft is a form of identity theft in which your personal information is used by criminals to transfer title to your home, usually by means of forged signatures on deeds and other documents recorded at the county register of deed’s office. Once title is transferred to themselves or others, they sell your home or borrow against it, pocketing the cash and walking away. The property owner has no idea that this has happened until foreclosure notices and unpaid bills start showing up. Rental properties, vacation homes and second homes, where absent property owners may miss clues that something is amiss, are easy targets.
So, is paying a monthly subscription fee to a monitoring service the only way to protect yourself? Turns out that you can check your property title yourself for free (or for a nominal cost) using on-line access that is available through many county register of deeds offices. Here are some useful links in our area:
If you think you’ve been the victim of title theft, we can help. Call us at (248) 477-6300.