I recently heard an ad on the radio for Title Lock: A product you have to have. If you don’t have Title Lock you can be a victim of title fraud. Title fraud happens when someone steals the title or deed for your home and then they sell it out from under you. This is a very serious threat I only learned about from terrifying radio commercials warning that your home can be stolen from you. Everyone PANIC.
Wait a minute, except no, not at all. There are almost no statistics I could find on title fraud except those provided by the Title Lock people. I could not find a single news story of someone who lost a home to title fraud online. I looked through pages and pages. Not one.
Can someone really acquire title to a real property simply by forging the owner’s name on a deed?
No. A forged deed conveys nothing. And having acquired nothing, the forger has nothing to resell to a third party or to ‘mortgage’ to a lender. So while one can forge a deed, they can’t really steal your house out from under you, or take a mortgage on a home they don’t actually own. They can only try.
From Forbes.com “The claims [in the ads] are so over the top that these companies either don't understand the law or are intentionally bending the facts. Like most things, these outlandish claims include a grain of truth. It is true that anyone can forge your name to any document, including a deed supposedly transferring title to the forger. Such a deed could be filed with the county register of deeds.” But that doesn’t mean they can then just mortgage out your house.
So then, what exactly does Title Lock do? Not much. It is a deed monitoring service that checks in periodically to see if your title has been transferred out of your name. If it has, they notify you. That is it. You can also do this yourself by periodically checking your tax records online.
Conclusion: Donate $79 to your favorite charity and skip the scammy Title Lock product.
Note; You do, however, need actual title insurance when you buy a property. Title insurance guarantees you or your lender against losses from any defects in title that may exist in the public records at the time you purchase that property and certain other risks described in the title insurance policy. So if there was a lien on the property when you bought it, and that lienholder comes after you for the debt owed, title insurance has you covered. This is a whole other ball of wax, and a legitimate and needed product (albeit overpriced).
Questions about real estate? Call me. I know real estate. Joeyknowsrealestate.info