Real Estate Title Fraud Incidents of real estate title fraud are increasing in Canada and homeowners are proving to be irresistible targets for fraud
artists. Homeowners can protect themselves by obtaining title insurance. The coverage provided protects homeowners who might otherwise face huge financial losses resulting from title fraud.
Insuring the ownership of your property (referred to as “Title”) is just as important as insuring your property and its contents from physical loss or damage. Traditionally, title insurance was only available on “purchase” transactions and ordered by lawyers and/or notaries, but now you can obtain Title Insurance anytime, regardless of how long you have owned your home.
How Does Real Estate Fraud Occur? Real estate fraud takes several forms, but a common denominator is that the fraudsters are sophisticated and thanks to modern
technology, are armed with the appropriate documentation and necessary knowledge of the real estate process to enable them to perpetrate a crime.
A Typical Example…
1. A fraud artist steals the identity of the legitimate owner of the property.
2. The fraud artist sells the property to an unsuspecting purchaser who also obtains mortgage financing.
3. The unsuspecting purchaser either moves in or attempts to move into the property.
4. The legitimate owner is faced with defending his/her interest in the property, including evicting the unsuspecting purchaser, and having their title subject to any mortgages the unsuspecting purchaser has put on the title.
Spousal Impersonation Fraud – This type of fraud can occur when one spouse mortgages a property for their own benefit using an accomplice to impersonate their
spouse. How much does it cost? The Insurance premium for an existing homeowner is very low and is paid only once. Coverage is valid for the entire time you have owned your home.
Did you know?
– Thieves often target properties that are mortgage free and where owners have a good credit rating.
– Mortgage fraud amounts to $1.5 billion a year across Canada.
Guy Ward is a Mortgage Broker in Calgary, Alberta with TMG (The Mortgage Group Alberta).