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WHAT IS HOME TITLE FRAUD AND HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF?

loans personal credit personal finance podcasts Oct 17, 2019

Tiffany talks about home title fraud, a fast-growing cybercrime that has gained a lot of traction in recent years.  Listen up to see what it is and how to protect yourself!

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Transcription:

Welcome to Money Talk with Tiff, a podcast where we discuss everything money – from tips and tricks to current events. Follow me on my journey to become debt-free, and meet other cool people along the way. I’m your host, Tiffany Grant, now let’s talk money.

Introduction

Hey everyone. So, I was reading one of my financial magazines recently, and something caught my eye – and that was Home Title Fraud. First of all, I didn’t even know this was a thing, so I did some research on it.

What is Home Title Fraud?

Home Title Fraud occurs when someone attains the title of your property, usually by stealing your identity somehow, and then they change the ownership on your property title from your name to theirs. How scary is that?

When I read about this, it blew my mind! I was like “people are really moving titles over to their name without your permission?” And then you’re happy-go-lucky paying on your house and all of a sudden, it’s not even yours anymore! That was just crazy to me, so I wanted to do a quick episode just to bring awareness to this, because when I was doing my research, I found that it was very rare, but it’s one of the fastest-growing cybercrimes in the country.

“Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the nation – especially in the suburbs.”

– Melissa Bean

 

I’m just speechless at this point! Figuratively speaking, I’d die if somebody took my house from up under me, without even knowing it. So this is just to bring some awareness to this and to also tell you some ways that you can protect yourself from home title fraud.

How to Avoid Home Title Fraud

  • Checking and/or Freezing Your Credit Report

One of the things that you should definitely be doing on a regular is checking your credit report basis (not just because of this, but because you should). This is because a lot of times when things like this happen, they are using your home as collateral for loans, or get home-equity lines of credit and then taking that money for themselves, and the only way they can do that is if they can tap into your credit.

So, I highly recommend getting a credit freeze on all three Bureaus if you are not looking to apply for any type of credit, cars or houses or whatever, go ahead and freeze it! It’s very easy to unfreeze, so don’t be scared.

I have had my credit report frozen for at least 3 years now, and I’ll probably do a blog post on that – just taking you step-by-step on how to do it. But it’s so helpful because, things like this where people are taking loans out in your home, or using your identity for things, or going to the doctor with your name (I’ve seen this before), none of that stuff can happen when your credit is frozen. So definitely do that!

  • Paying Attention to Your Bills

Another way to protect yourself is to pay attention to your incoming bills. So how many of you get your bills and just toss them or don’t even look at them! I know there are a lot of hands raised right now.

I would say I open up every single piece of mail that comes to my house, and if it has something with my name, address, or any other pertinent information which is practically everything, I go ahead and shred that “bad boy” because I don’t time for that. I don’t have time for somebody to go through my trash and get my information out of the garbage or they begin to use my information and I have no idea what’s going on. I don’t have time for that.

So, I highly recommend that you go ahead and open up every single piece of mail that comes in. Make sure that your bills are correct because people can add stuff to your bills and you won’t even know about it. I look at every single bill that comes to my house because I need to make sure that I’m paying what I’m supposed to.

Also, you can make sure you’re catching the cable company, the phone company, whomever when they try to raise your prices every year. No! None of that goes on in Tiffany’s house because I check every single bill, and as soon as I see it, I’m on the phone call, but I digressed.

Conclusion

The most important here is to make sure that you’re looking at your bills, making sure that you’re getting your credit freezes, making sure you check your home information, and what is in the county deed office is correct every so often. Just make sure nothing has changed. Wow! this just blows my mind! I don’t believe people are really doing this, but they are only doing it because they can.

“A security freeze is the strongest form of identity theft prevention for consumers. Only the security freeze gives the consumer the tool to put a stop to the opening of a new fraudulent account.”

– Gail Hillebrand

 

So, awareness is the first order of defense when any of these things come up. So, if you have ever had a situation where you were a victim of home title fraud or any title fraud like car title fraud, please let me know cos I have questions. I didn’t know that this was so common that they had to put articles out about it. I didn’t know.

So, this episode is for awareness. Please let me know if this has ever happened to you, I’ll love to hear your story. I’ll see you all next time!

Thank you for listening to the Money Talk with Tiff Podcast. For free resources and materials, head over to moneytalkwitht.com, and while you’re there, why not sign up for our newsletter, so you’ll never miss an episode. Talk to you soon…

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