Fraud can occur and take place in different forms. As a Real Estate Sales Professional, you want to make sure that you take the necessary precautions to ensure your name isn’t associated with a fraudulent deal. In a recent blog we mentioned that the popular forms of real estate fraud are, title fraud and mortgage fraud. Now we’ll highlight how a few simple searches in GeoWarehouse will help you learn more about your customer, the property in question, and hopefully mitigate potential title fraud.
Problem: Title fraud
Title fraud generally means that the person(s) who indicate they own a property may not in fact be the only parties on the official title record, the Parcel Register, or be listed on title at all. Identity fraud may be involved as well, as a fraudster may have stolen a homeowner’s personal information to try and fraudulently sell a home or apply for a new mortgage. This kind of fraud can also take place when new construction purchases occur.
Title fraud is hard to detect because sometimes owners may not be aware of other parties on title and the only way to know if there is title fraud is to check the Parcel Register against the information that the seller is providing you with. In addition, a fraudster may have stolen the homeowners personal information and may have an ID with their photo and the homeowner’s name. However, there are a few steps you can take to prevent potential title fraud:
- Purchase a Parcel Register to confirm all owners on title.
- Check the encumbrance on title and the parties associated with them. The Parcel Register will identify all documents registered against title such as mortgages, liens, etc. This will allow you to validate the mortgages held by the owner and the names referenced in these documents to ensure they match the ownership. To learn more about the benefits of using a Parcel Register, read this blog post.
Knowing the patterns of fraudsters and using tools like GeoWarehouse early in the process to validate information about a property or a new customer helps you better understand your deals and protect yourself from potential real estate fraud.