Real estate fraud rare but dangerous

Title fraud can cause you to lose your home.

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Experts are warning Canadian homeowners to be aware of the dangers posed by real estate fraud, according to The Canadian Press.

While they are considered rarities, mortgage fraud and title fraud have devastating consequences and individuals are being urged not to adopt an “it’ll never happen to me” attitude. Of the two varieties, title fraud is a bigger threat for homeowners.

Title fraud occurs when a second party changes the ownership or title of a property into another name without the original owner’s knowledge. Fraudsters usually accomplish this feat using a stolen identity or forged documents, and then make off with the mortgage proceeds. Some homeowners don’t realized what has happened until they stop receiving their property tax bills, and after contacting officials they’re told that they recently sold the property.

To protect yourself against real estate fraud, keep your social insurance number confidential — this means not carrying the card around in your wallet — and think about investing in a shredder. More often than not, fraudsters take documents directly out of people’s garbage bins. Title insurance is another recommended means of protection.

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