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What is Home Title Fraud?

February 20, 2023 Community

The Better Business Bureau of BC and Better Business Bureau (BBB) Canada is warning home buyers and owners to be alert for home title fraud in 2023. As homeowners, it is important to be aware of the different types of fraud and how to avoid getting scammed. 

If you are a new BC homeowner or planning on becoming one soon, you may have thought about getting home title insurance to protect yourself against home title fraud. You definitely should acquire home title insurance if you do not already have it, but there are also several other actions you can take to protect yourself against home title fraud. 

What exactly is home title fraud?

Home title fraud occurs when someone else assumes the identity of the homeowner in order to assume the title on a home. At this point, they could either resell the home without the homeowner’s knowledge, or obtain a mortgage on that property or other properties under the homeowner’s name. 

How do I protect myself from home title fraud?

People looking to commit home title fraud often target elderly people or those who are less diligent about their identity. To protect yourself from this, you can take precautions like not carrying your SIN card with you, having private mail shipped to a PO box, and being wary of giving out your personal information. 

Shred private documents when you no longer need them, and do not give your personal information to anyone over the phone or internet. With scam calls on the rise in recent years, it is important to be vigilant and make sure you verify who is calling you before telling them anything. 

Take a look at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker for more advice on how to avoid and report scams. 

What is title insurance?

Another excellent way to protect yourself against home title fraud is to purchase BC title insurance. 

Title insurance is an insurance policy you purchase at the same time as purchasing your home which protects you against cases of home title fraud. However, if you did not purchase title insurance when you purchased your property, you can still do so at any time.

Title insurance will cover you and your BC home in case of fraud, missed payments, and other unforeseen circumstances which might put your title on your property at risk. When considering title insurance, make sure you consult with your real estate lawyer regarding which policies will cover everything you need for your home. 

If you are looking to buy or sell a new home in BC, or are already a homeowner, it is a good idea to check your title insurance policy to make sure you are covered in case of home title fraud. Ask your real estate agent for recommendations for home title insurance policies and property lawyers. More than likely, they have lawyers they trust who will help you find the right insurance policy and keep you safe.

Which BC houses are usually targeted for home title fraud? 

The properties targeted by home title fraud are often those which have already been paid off. This is part of why elderly people are often targets, as their homes are more likely to have been paid off already. If you have elderly family members who may not be aware of this, it would be wise to inform them of the risks of scams and how to avoid them. 

We hope this guide helps you understand more about home title fraud and how you can protect yourself and your home. 
If you are ready to buy or sell a home on the East coast of Vancouver Island, contact The Nicklen Group.