Home property deeds are documents showing home ownership and provided to home buyers and certified by county clerks or registrars after closing on a home purchase. Deeds are generally public records and available for free or a small fee at the state or country registrar’s office.
There 2 types of deed scams. The first involves the fraudulent sale of deed documents and the second involves the fraudulent sale of actual homes by forging deeds.
In the course of a person’s life they may never own or only own 1-2 homes. After a purchase their deeds may sit in a drawer or at a lawyer’s office or live online never to be seen again. Like an automobile title, we sometimes lose track of property deeds and don’t adequately protect these important documents.
Rogue document sales: Deeds are the perfect document to be used as a tool by scammers. Because of the legal aspect and generally obscurity of a deed, scammers pose as government agencies such as “The U.S. Government Federal Citizen Information Center” and will send out letters or emails targeting homeowners recommending home owners get official copies of their deed. However only the registrar or clerk’s office can issue a certified copy and these scammy companies often charge as much as 1000% more than what a clerk will charge.
Stealing your home: When criminals “steal your home” they are essentially selling the home to a real buyer who is being defrauded. Criminals will often break into summer homes or vacant homes and change the locks. They will list the property and go through an official closing. While there are checks and balances in place such as title searches, criminals simply forge documents and tell lots of lies.
To protect yourself from someone stealing your home when traveling for an extended period or from stealing a second home start with installing a home alarm security system. Having a monitored alarm and security cameras is definitely one layer of protection.