Our office has received inquires about home title theft.
What is it? How can consumers protect themselves from Home Title Theft?
Home title theft, also known as title fraud, happens when a criminal illegally obtains the title to a property—stealing the property from the rightful owner.
This type of identity theft is newer and involves serious forgery, real estate, and mortgage crimes. Many times this is occurring as a cybercrime when a property is sold or refinanced.
You can ensure you are secure with your deed in several ways:
Verify your deed: check with the local recorder of deeds; this will provide you peace of mind and ensure that your home remains registered to you. If you are an Erie County, New York Resident, you can check information with Erie County Real Property, https://www3.erie.gov/ecrpts/real-property-parcel-search.
Monitor your credit report: Many major credit cards offer monthly monitoring of your credit score. Some include if there have been any recent inquiries against your social security number. U.S. citizens are entitled to an annual credit report from the three major credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only free crediting reporting service authorized by the Federal Trade Commission. If you space these checks out across the year, selecting to take one each quarter, you will be able to spot something wrong.
Secure your personal information: Your data is valuable. Make sure you secure it. Shred any documents with your bank account information, Social Security Social number, or other personal information. Be suspicious of any unsolicited communication asking for personal information.
If you find yourself a victim of title theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission, https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/Steps. Follow these steps:
- Call the companies where the fraud occurred.
- Place a fraud alert and get individual credit reports.
- Report identity theft to the FTC.
- If applicable, file a report with the local police department or the FBI, Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3): ic3.gov.
If you are unsure, call our office at 716-858-6169, and we will provide you additional assistance.