You are more likely to be the victim of identity theft today than you were a decade ago, according to the FTC.

Home title theft is a form of identity theft that has been growing in popularity. It happens when criminals alter or forge home titles to sell them to unsuspecting buyers.

Title theft is a serious problem. We created this article so you can receive valuable information and protect yourself.

What is Home Title Theft?

Deed theft or title fraud is the illegal transfer of property ownership without the owner’s consent.

But how can somebody sell your home while you’re still living in it?

You must understand how your county proves and records property ownership. This usually happens through a written document called a deed. In most states, the deed contains the signatures of the owner, two witnesses, and a notary.

Criminals can track down ownership of a home through public records. Then, they forge the supporting documentation needed to transfer the title.

Read our article that provides tips on how to protect yourself against title theft.

Is Home Title Theft Real?

Best Identity Protection

You will hear all sorts of opinions out there. Chances are you’re already familiar with ads for home title monitoring services.

Real estate experts are quick to discredit these types of services. Yet, this does not change the fact that deed theft happens.

According to the FBI, there are more and more title fraud cases every year. Criminals will track down anyone vulnerable. In 2017, victims of home title fraud lost over $56 million.

You think it won’t happen to you. These 9,600 people thought so too.

Home title fraud is difficult to achieve. But your home has more value than your credit card. The criminals can sell the property for profit or get loans using your home as collateral.

“Schemes like this one undermine the public’s confidence in their most personal and important investment, their homes,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.

Imagine pouring your heart and soul into the home of your dreams, only to have someone take it away from you without your consent or knowledge.

Home title theft is real and it happens more often thank you think.

Settling legal disputes and attendant consequences can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Deed theft often leaves victims dealing with legal battles and ruined credit profiles.

“This defendant stole from people who didn’t have the resources to fight back, often resulting in victim battling against victim, homeowner against good faith purchaser,” said U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain.

In this case, the court convicted Terrell Hampton for his role in a scheme that cheated innocent homeowners and purchasers of real estate.

Our article has more information on the many schemes used against victims of title fraud.

What Are the Signs of Home Title Theft?

The sad truth is that many homeowners never learn of changes to their deeds until it’s too late.

One obvious clue is when the bank comes to repossess the properties for failure to pay off home loans. It’s better to be alert and look out for indications of deed fraud.

Be suspicious of any missing bills. Or if money has stopped coming out of your account, check with the company right away. This may be an error on their end, but it could also be a sign that something bigger is going on.

Identity thieves can change your address information on certain bills. This allows them to continue without detection. 

If you’ve seen a sudden drop in your credit score and aren’t sure why, it might be a sign of title fraud. It’s important to check your credit report often, as this is the best way to detect signs of title fraud.

On a positive note, it’s easier to catch title fraud, since the amount in question is usually significant.

Other signs include receiving notices for unpaid bills, real estate taxes, or mortgages. If you discover an unpaid bill is affecting your credit score, you should investigate.

One way to avoid damage to your credit rating is to discover fraudulent activity as soon as possible. If the new owner of your property is knocking on your door, it’s already too late.

What Is Home Title Lock?

Is Home Title Lock a Scam 

It’s possible to avoid becoming a victim of home title fraud by taking precaution measures.

If you own one or more properties, a home title lock service can be the key to your peace of mind.

When you sign up for a home title monitoring service, they will check for changes in ownership on a regular. If anyone tries tampering with your home title, they will notify you immediately.

Title lock is different than title insurance. Yet, both are important for keeping your finances and investments secure. Home title protection benefits senior citizens and even people who own second properties.

This type of service is great if you’re looking to protect your assets for a small monthly fee.

Home Title Lock vs Title Insurance

You probably remember paying for some type of insurance when you purchased your home.

There are two types available. Lender’s title insurance is a legal requirement and it’s most likely the one you paid for.

The other available option is owner’s title insurance and it’s not a legal obligation to have it. It’s important to know the differences between them since only one of them protects you.

When you buy a home, the lender will almost always ask you to get a lender’s title insurance policy. This helps ensure no one else has a claim to the property you’re about to buy. The title company issues the policy once it has completed its search of the property’s history.

The lender’s policy doesn’t cover you. It only protects the lender. Owner’s title insurance covers you against common risks involved in buying property.

Even if you hire a title company to research the property’s history, there’s a chance something will slip through the cracks. Owner’s title insurance protects you if there are any discoveries after the sale.

A home title lock is not a replacement for title insurance, but it can serve as an early warning system. A title monitoring service can alert you of potential threats as soon as possible.

Home title protection companies can connect you with a team of experts. They can help you navigate the situation to determine the next steps.

Home Title Lock Pros and Cons

If you’re not sure whether a home title lock subscription is right for you, here are some points to consider.

Pros of Title Monitoring Services

  • It’s affordable. For pennies a day, a title lock service can keep an eye on your property’s title to help you rest easy.
  • It’s effortless. Not sure how to check your title? Real-time updates allow you to rest assured knowing you’re protected.
  • 24/7 support. If a problem ever arises, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that experts will be able to handle it on time.

Cons of Title Monitoring Services

  • It’s an extra cost. It’s much cheaper than the cost of having your belongings stolen. Still, it is a subscription service. Before signing up, you might want to consider if you can afford it.
  • It’s not an insurance replacement. A home title lock is much cheaper than the cost of a traditional insurance policy. But it’s important to note that it’s not a replacement for it. Title insurance is a legal requirement in most states.
  • It’s not a lock. You cannot lock the title of your home as if you’d lock a credit file. But you can receive alerts to changes in ownership and even coverage for legal fees.

What is the Cost of Home Title Lock Services?

Protecting your title can be as easy and inexpensive as working with a trusted company.

You can expect to pay anywhere between $100 to $200 per year for an average subscription. Monthly plans are also available.

The cost of a subscription will vary depending on which provider you choose. Still, they all offer some kind of discount if you pay in full or sign up for more than one year.

You can choose from a range of different plans depending on your personal needs and budget.

We list out the most popular providers so you can see which one is right for you. We compare features and pricing to help you make an informed decision.

Is Home Title Lock a Waste of Money?

Best Identity Protection

When a person or business uses your name or credit to take out a loan, they are committing identity theft. This type of fraud can be a difficult crime to prove.

When you’re in the middle of an identity theft case, it can be overwhelming to know where to turn for help. When you have a dispute, it’s important to seek help from someone who knows the identity theft laws and the facts of your case.

If you find yourself in this situation, there’s help available. Many home title lock services are set up to resolve such disputes on your behalf. Depending on the provider, you will also get coverage for legal and expert fees.

So, is home title lock a waste of money? It’s up to you to decide. It is a small price to pay to ensure your end of the deal is efficiently and effectively upheld.

Final Thoughts

Identity theft is a growing problem and home title fraud is real.

Thieves steal your credit card information and then use it to make purchases. They forge deeds and sell your home out from under you.

It’s important to prepare against anything that could leave you financially compromised. Time is of the essence when responding to identity theft.

Make sure you’re aware of anything that could impact your credit in a negative way. A home title monitoring service is a great way to protect your home.

We gather helpful information on the leading providers of home title protection. Read our reviews to help you find a service that’s right for your needs.

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