Property fraud and title lock: Should I be worried about my title being stolen?
Updated: Jan 8
As a title company, our newest most frequently asked question is this - "should I be worried about my property or title being stolen?"
The root of this question appears to be the radio! If you listen to the radio, you've doubtlessly been exposed to commercials advertising a new service. The ads introduce home lock or title lock - a subscription-based service that aims to defend homeowners from property fraud through forgery.
The ads instill a whole new fear in homeowners - the possibility that your home is stolen without your knowledge. The idea is that a fraudster would create a deed into their names, forge the homeowners' signatures, and record the deed with the county registry. From there, the fraudsters could take out mortgages and loans on the property that the homeowner could technically be held responsible for.
Scary? Absolutely! The ads for the title lock service seek to relieve homeowners' fears by promising them alerts if anything is recorded under their names and access to their property fraud experts to protect you and your assets if it happens to you. Which, of course, is a great service!
But does it sound familiar? It should! You may remember purchasing an owner's title insurance policy with your title company when you closed on your home. And if you purchased an enhanced owner's title insurance policy (usually automatically granted), you are likely protected from ownership claims due to a forged deed after purchase. Not every property type is eligible for an enhanced owner's policy, so give your contact at Cohen Closing a call to find out if you or your clients who closed with us have one!
If you're already protected from ownership claims due to forgeries, you've already paid the one-time fee for your policy when you closed on your home purchase. So it may not make sense to pay for a monthly subscription in addition to your already-paid title insurance policy.
But do you still find the idea of getting an alert if something is recorded under your name appealing? If so, you're in luck as a NH or ME resident! Almost all of our registries have a free service you can sign up for to be alerted to anything recorded under your name. Keep in mind you must sign up for phone or email alerts for each different county that you own property in. You may also subscribe to alerts for family members if you want to help them stay aware of any potential fraud on their properties! Check out the links below to sign up for property fraud alerts!