Friday, March 18, 2011

Title Fraud – What is it?

Title fraud or real estate title fraud is when your home ownership title to property is transferred illegally to a fraudster through forged or documents and or stolen identity without the registered owners knowledge.  Most commonly the fraudster obtains a mortgage on the subject property then takes the mortgage funds leaving the homeowner confused when start receiving late payment notices or worse, leaving the homeowner in a legal nightmare when they go to sell.

Although it is impossible to completely avoid fraud in any system, the cases of title fraud are limited.  Especially when you consider that in Ontario alone there are more than two million real estate transactions taking place each year.  In fact, Ontario is the world leader in land registration and the first jurisdiction in the world to provide electronic land registration with a constantly improving system that has introduced automation, electronic registration and enhanced security to land registration.  Ontario’s land registration system has a proven track record for security, accuracy and efficiency built on 200 years of legal and regulatory best practices, using the best technology currently available. 

Protect yourself from identity theft:
  • Store Personal information (birth certificates, Social Insurance card, credit card details, bank account information) in a secure place
  • Leave your birth certificate or SIN card safely at home and not in your wallet
  • Shed important documents (bank or credit card statements) before recycling them
  • Delete emails or spam when asked for personal information (passwords, bank or credit card details, etc.)
  • If renting out a property, take care to check references of prospective renters
  • If you have more than one property (rental or otherwise), be sure to check it regularly

Warning signs of identity theft:
  • Discrepancies on your bank or credit card statements
  • Bills not arriving as expected
  • Tax statements or bills mailed to your home that are addressed to a different individual
  • Contact from an individual regarding a new mortgage that has already been arranged for your property
  • Contact from creditors regarding purchases you did not make
Information provided by: the government of Ontario under Land Registration Information, Real Estate Council of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services

Feel free to contact LJ for all of your Real Estate questions or needs at

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