Stealing Your Identity: Protect Yourself From Mortgage Fraud


Protecting Your Home From Scam Artists

House thieves can steal more than your contents, some are looking for bigger assets like your home. In Toronto we should all be aware how easy it is for a fraudster to impersonate a homeowner. Although national statistics are not available, experts say that living in an electronic world has made it easier for criminals to make big money as it becomes increasingly difficult for authorities to put a face to perpetrators.

Mortgage fraud begins when a fraud artist obtains personal information on you, usually a stolen wallet or electronically from an unsecured database, and is able to create a false identity. Now impersonating you, the fraudster goes to mortgage broker and takes out a mortgage on your home. Once they receive the money, they vanish with the cash. Months later, you get a call from the lender informing you that you are in arrears and they plan to foreclose if you do not bring the payments up to date. It’s that simple.

Title fraud also starts with a fraudster obtaining your personal identification. Armed with this information, your property, the fraud artist transfers ownership of your property to himself or to a false identity. Then, he sells your home and before you’re aware of it, pockets the proceeds and disappears.

So who is at risk? The prime targets for fraudsters are retired people who vacation for extended periods of time. How do you protect yourself? Title insurance is the best way to protect your home. For a one-time premium, usually paid through your lawyer when purchasing a property, your home is covered against title fraud as well as outstanding liens and encroachment issues. Not only are personal residential properties covered but so are cottages, vacant land, rental units, co-operatives and leased properties.

Make sure your identify if always secure both physically and electronically. Fraudsters are out there looking for the next score, so don’t let it be you.