How to Protect Your Home From Deed Theft
A Growing Problem
Possessions come and go in life, including our houses. Amongst the many decisions we make concerning our possessions, selling a house is sure to be one of the bigger ones on the list. Life also brings many changes, and sometimes those sudden changes may have you say “Sell My Home Fast.”
The Brown Family had one of those life-changing moments that made them want to sell home fast, and just when they found a cash home buyer willing to that buy their home as-is, they discovered they had fallen victim to deed theft—on paper, they no longer owned their home. When you are faced with a situation that requires you to sell my home fast, the last thing you need is another problem, but that is exactly the situation the Browns found themselves in. Discovering they were victims of deed theft made a very difficult time even harder.
That’s right! Not many people are even aware of what this means, and yet everyday cases of deed theft are being reported. Deed theft is becoming so common that in 2008 the FBI issued a warning alerting homeowners about this latest scam that involves stealing your identity, mortgaging your house, and selling your home.
Although this is becoming quite common, there is no reason to panic. After reading this article, questions like “How To Protect Your Home From Deed Theft” will be answered by your friends at OutFactors.
What Is Deed Theft All About?
We all strive day in day out to protect our valuables from theft, hence the necessities of vaults, banks, and security systems. Now you must add the deed to your house to the list of things you need to protect. Although the term “Deed Theft” might sound new to you, it has been around for a very long time. The difference is, today it has gone mainstream and high-tech which is why it is important as a homeowner that you educate yourself on what it is and how to protect your property.
The deed thieves do not pull your house physically off its roots, what they do is steal your identity and then impersonate you to sell your home to an unwitting buyer or take the cash when they place a mortgage on your home. Due to the amount of money that can be made by stealing the deed to your home, it has become a lucrative target of identity thieves.
There are numerous ways deed theft can take place, but they all start by stealing your identity. Most often, your personal information is hacked from financial institutions or swiped off the internet by gathering data from Facebook, Linkedin, or other social media sites. Once they have your information, they impersonate you using their arsenal of fake IDs and forged signatures.
? Here are some key points to remember:
- The thief must first steal your identity.
- They use forged titles, deeds, and loan agreements to carry out their plans.
- Once they have your identity, many times, they will just sell the home and take the cash from the sale.
- Other times, they will apply for a home loan for the maximum amount possible, pay off your existing mortgage (if you have one), and steal your equity. This leaves you with a large unpaid mortgage and a potential foreclosure to deal with.
- Many times, they will just apply for a home equity line of credit. This leaves your existing mortgage in place and just adds another loan. They draw down on the line of credit leaving you with an unpaid second mortgage and a mess to deal with.
- Some deed thieves take advantage of elderly homeowners by tricking them with a ‘refinancing’ offer. They then document the deal as a home sale and take ownership. They then sell the home directly or take out a loan, get the money and run.
- Deed thieves usually target vacation homes, second homes, rental homes, and vacant property but everyone is at risk and needs to take precautions to protect their home.
Why Should You Worry About Deed Theft?
In 2017 alone, the FBI reported that 9,600 people lost about $56 million to some form of real estate fraud. A large portion of this was deed theft which is rising rapidly as criminals see it as a lucrative cybercrime.
Deed theft not only affects the ownership of your home. It usually destroys your credit rating and ability to borrow funds or obtain credit. This can take months and years to fix.
Although most people who are victims of deed theft end up reclaiming ownership of their home, the time and money spent resolving all of the problems caused by the theft are enormous. This is time and money you will never get back.
Once a thief has stolen your identity, they will not stop at just stealing the deed to your home. They will also attempt to steal all of your other assets, including bank accounts.
When it comes to deed theft, an ounce of prevention is worth thousands of pounds of a cure!
How to Protect Your Home from Deed Theft
With a basic knowledge of what deed theft is, the natural question that follows is how to protect your property from these fraudsters. At OutFactors, we want you to protect yourself so when you say “sell my house fast,” you can actually sell your house fast.
Now let’s look at a few steps you should take to avoid falling victim to deed theft:
(Click each number below to expand content)
Since deed theft starts with identity theft, the number one thing you can do to prevent deed theft is not let your identity be stolen. Here are a few tips to protect your identity:
a. Limit what you share or post on social media.
b. Shred your personal papers before disposing of them.
c. Freeze access to your credit reports.
d. Monitor your credit. A few companies offer this service for free, like CreditKarma.com
e. Enroll in a credit monitoring service
The moment your normal home loan bills begin to go missing or change frequently, your deed status could be in danger. Always follow up with the company the moment you notice you did not get a bill. If your mortgage company offers it, sign up for email loan alerts that will notify you immediately of any changes, payments, or missed payments. Remember, if you are not getting your bills you are also not getting your notices. Did you miss a foreclosure or loan payoff notice which could indicate deed theft?
When purchasing a home, title insurance protects against deed theft and fraud. If deed theft or fraud occurs it will not be your problem, it will be the title companies. The two types of title insurance are owner and lender.
When you purchase a property, the owner’s title insurance is what insures you against potential loss and deed theft. On the other hand, the lender’s title insurance is what insures the mortgage company against potential loss and deed theft. The cost for title insurance is usually part of the closing cost when you buy the home, and is money well spent.
If you enroll in a deed monitoring service, they will monitor the status of your deed and will inform you of any changes or activity. Since deed theft has become such a problem, many counties are beginning to offer free deed activity notification services. Contact your local county clerk’s office and see if they have a program that helps prevent deed theft.
Although some of these services are free or low-cost, they can be an invaluable way of protecting you from deed theft. This way, when you want to sell your house quickly, you will be able to!
Quick Warning: As the need for deed protection gets high, many scammers use this as an opportunity to dupe people into giving them the very information they are trying to protect. Be vigilant of fraudsters posing as deed protection service providers.
To protect yourself from deed theft and fraud, when a deceased family member owns a property you should go through the process of probating their will. If there is not a will, you should administer the estate through the courts.
This will ensure that the court and other authorities are aware of the true inheritors and will ensure that the ownership of the property transfers to the proper heirs. If you need help with administering an estate or probating a will and cannot afford an attorney, the Planning and Estates Law Project (PELP) might be able to provide you with free guidance and assistance.
Make sure your family and friends are aware of these scams and how to avoid falling victim to them. Deed thieves are always looking for an easy target, don’t let your loved ones be their victims.
What Should You Do If Your Deed Gets Stolen?
If you are the victim of identity or deed theft, we feel for you and what you are going through. We know dealing with this is not easy or pleasant, but if you follow the steps detailed below, you will recover and overcome this challenge. Here is what you need to do:
- Immediately freeze access to your credit reports
- Change your bank and financial institution passwords
- Consider transferring your funds to a different bank
- Engage the services of an attorney (for deed recovery/loan removal)
- File a police report (you will need this in the future)
- Notify your title company
- Notify your mortgage company
- Notify the county clerk’s office
- Request new credit and bank cards
- Consider engaging a firm that specializes in identity theft recovery
- Dispute all fraudulent charges, preferably in writing
- Dispute and close all fraudulent accounts opened in your name
- Write to the credit bureaus demanding they remove fraudulent accounts
- Consider replacing government-issued ID, like driver license
- Report the identity theft to the FTC
Although the Internet and technology have made our daily lives easier, they have also spawned a whole new group of thieves and con artists. Using the internet for deed theft is just one of the newer scams that are increasing daily.
To protect yourself and your loved ones, you need to secure your personal information and limit what you make available online that can be stolen by scammers and fraudsters. Monitor your credit, bank statement, and mortgage statements. You should also consider enrolling in credit monitoring and deed protection services. Scammers are looking for easy targets, so with a little vigilance and by taking some precautions, you can prevent yourself from being a victim.
There is a Faster and Easier Way!
For Those of You with a Deed Theft Problem that Just Want the House Sold Already
If you are short on time, money, or just do not want to deal with the hassle of the deed theft problem, there is a faster and easier way. Sell to a cash home buyer, like OutFactors. We will help you resolve the deed theft problem and pay you cash for the house. You can sell your Texas home the quick, easy, and stress-free way. OutFactors is a home cash buyer that makes the process of selling your home and resolving your deed problem very quick and simple.
To sell my home fast for cash and get help resolving your deed theft problem, all you need to do is enter your address and answer a few simple questions about your home. Within a few seconds, OutFactors sophisticated computer system will display a great cash offer to buy your home as-is. No repairs, upgrades, or cleaning needed. The entire process only takes about 2 minutes and personal information is NOT required. Yes, that is correct. No registration, no email address, no telephone number – not even your name. So get a great cash offer today!
When OutFactors buys homes for cash, you do not need a real estate agent. That means no hefty commissions and potentially more money in your pocket. You will find that selling to companies that buy houses for cash, like OutFactors, has many benefits, like being able to choose the closing date, or with our sell and stay leaseback program, when you will move out. As a seller, you have nothing to lose. Getting an offer is always free and there is never any obligation.
If you get started now, 10 days later you can be sitting at a table signing the closing documents and collecting the cash for your house.
We hope this article is informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like additional information, we invite you to contact us at OutFactors.com or watch some of our 2-minute explainer videos that provide information about our cash home buying programs.
Protect Home from Deed Theft | Sell My Home Fast | OutFactors — Dallas Fort Worth, Texas