Tips for avoiding real estate fraud
(NC) As housing prices climb in many markets across the country, real estate fraud can become a much more enticing prospect for scammers.
While it's one of the lesser-known kinds of fraud in Canada, its impact can be devastating. There are two types of real estate fraud that may result in financial losses for home owners — title fraud and foreclosure fraud.
Title fraud happens when a fraudster steals the title to a home. This type of fraud is usually committed after the fraudster steals the owner’s identity, when they sell the home or apply for a new mortgage against it.
Foreclosure fraud happens when homeowners having difficulty making their payments mistakenly turn to a fraudster who convinces them to transfer their property title in return for a loan. Often, the fraudster keeps their loan payments and resells or remortgages the victim's home.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself with these simple tips:
- Safeguard your personal financial information.
- Consult your lawyer before giving another person a right to deal with your home or other assets.
- Contact your mortgage lender first if you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments.
- Research the company or individual who is offering you a loan.
- Do a land title search with your provincial or territorial land registry office. This search will show the name of the property owner and any mortgages or liens registered on the title.
- Consider buying title insurance to protect against title fraud.