Have you seen those Title Lock ads? They’re designed to create fear.
Title fraud occurs when someone forges your name on a deed and files it with the county courthouse. Using the house as collateral, he or she can borrow money against it. Although rare, it’s a growing crime that targets the elderly or those who don’t understand their rights. It’s most successfully committed against those who fully own their home and are clear of any debt on it. Title Lock is not insurance. It’s a monitoring service that periodically checks to see if your title’s been transferred out of your name. Notification comes after it happens but does not solve the problem. Title insurance is what protects you. The title company must fix the problem and cover any costs involved. Should a scammer illegally claim ownership, he’d have to prove the validity of the signature of the deed.
Title Lock is an unnecessary expense. In most counties, you can access property records online to verify that no changes on your home have occurred, and there are a couple other ways to detect title fraud. Check your credit report to see if any actions occurred that may indicate identity theft, and make sure you’re receiving all your bills. If not, you could be a victim. If you believe you’re a victim of identity fraud, immediately seek help. My wife and I have purchased title insurance on every home we’ve owned and we suggest that you do the same, but I find no reason to purchase the services of Title Lock. So don’t panic – just be sure you have title insurance.
Now if you’ve been helped by Crown or this radio station, may I ask you to support us this month? If you already do, thank you for your generosity! You can join others in giving today at crown.org.