Senior homeowners are often afraid of someone breaking into their property and stealing their possessions. However, they may not know that scammers are capable of stealing their homes without stepping a foot into the property. This is called home title theft. Scammers can transfer senior homeowners’ properties into their names by fraudulently altering the property title. Using this altered property deed, scammers can take loans against the property or sell it to a third party who may not know the deed is obtained illegally.

Home title theft not only affects seniors financially but also emotionally and not to mention the time they spend in lawsuits to get their own home back. Here we share some useful insights for senior homeowners to protect themselves from home title theft:

1. Why are senior homeowners targeted the most?

Often seniors with second homes, vacation homes, or abandoned homes are targeted because they may not be able to physically monitor the property. Also, many seniors are not tech-savvy and may not follow the best internet security practices.

2. What can seniors do to protect their home title deed?

  • Homeowners, seniors and even young, can subscribe to home title protection services. These service providers monitor home titles constantly on behalf of their customers and send an alert if there are new deeds, liens, loans, and court findings against the property. About 10% of counties offer this services free of charge, and in the other counties, there are private services available.
  • Those who have second homes should visit the property regularly or have a trusted person check the property. The person checking the home should ensure that there is no activity on the property and no for-sale sign posted.
  • As home title theft is a combination of identity theft and real estate fraud, it is important to prevent identity theft in the first place.

Here are some tips to help seniors protect their identity:

  1. They should avoid clicking on suspicious links or opening suspicious attachments
  2. They should change passwords for all their online accounts on a regular basis
  3. They should regularly monitor credit card reports for any expenses that they have not made
  4. They should not share their bank account information, social security numbers, and other important personal details without verifying why the information is sought.

Here is a useful guide to identity theft protection that can help seniors prevent a scammer from assuming their identity and misusing their personal information to commit crimes.

3. What to do in case of home title fraud?

Senior homeowners must act quickly and take the following steps:

  • Must contact their banking institutions and freeze the funds
  • Call their county recorder immediately and inform them about the fraud
  • Report the fraud to local and federal law enforcement
  • Contact a home title fraud attorney who can guide them on the needed legal steps to be taken

Looking for a home title fraud attorney?

David L. Fleck is a home title fraud attorney who has been helping victims of fraud for decades.  He has prosecuted felonies and complex financial crimes. He has represented many individuals and companies to recover money and property that were fraudulently taken from them. To get in touch with David L. Fleck, call at (760) 760-0320.