It’s something off the big screen, right? Cybercriminals hacking into a system to steal identities and sign the deeds to homes over to themselves. It may sound like the plot of an action movie, but for more and more Americans, it’s a reality. Title fraud is a security issue that’s sweeping the nation. In 2017, the FBI reported more than 300,000 cases of wire fraud, resulting in losses of over $1.4 billion for homeowners. Title fraud is simple. With more and more information being available online, it’s all too easy for thieves to perform a simple property title search and find the information needed to steal your identity and take ownership of your home. They hack systems and pretend to be you while signing over your mortgage and deed to them. With a few keystrokes, your home is no longer in your name. Once done, title fraud is an extremely difficult thing to undo. So, what can you do to protect your hard-earned investment?
Prevent Identity Theft
Criminals can’t seize the deed to your home if they don’t have the right information. With so much information being shared digitally now, being vigilant should be your top priority. When using online platforms, use caution when sharing personal details. Never share your social security number or credit card information in an unsecured environment. It’s also important to double-check the source if ever asked for personal information by anyone through the internet. Be wary of any requests that seem fraudulent in nature. If you’re at all suspicious, don’t send the information requested. As a rule of thumb, it’s always better to call the requesting institution in order to verify their identity. Giving information over the phone as opposed to sending it via email or through the web is always a safer choice.
It’s also important to shred any personal information before disposing of it. What may seem like junk mail could end up being a gold mine for thieves. Credit card statements, bills, and anything containing your address, social security number, and anything containing your date of birth could give criminals the information needed to steal the title to your home. By shredding it, you eliminate that risk and further protect your family from fraud.
Enlist the Help of Professionals
It’s hard to monitor your online presence yourself. Without the proper tools, you have no idea whether or not cybercriminals are running title searches on your home or preparing to commit fraudulent activity in your name. That’s why it’s imperative that you enlist the help of the professionals. There are services available that not only monitor your identity but also monitor your title and deed. These experts pay close attention to any activity that involves your name and your property. From regular title searches to irregular activity linked to your name, they’re the first to act when something looks suspicious. You can’t spend all of your time vigilantly protecting the deed to your home. But, when you hire a team of experts, you don’t have to! They’ll do all of that for you. This is the easiest and simplest way to keep your home and title protect from scams.
Monitor Your Credit Report
Cybercriminals can’t commit a mortgage scam without utilizing your social security number. These fraudulent acts will show up on your credit report, making it easier for you to identify when an issue has occurred. Monitor your credit report on a regular basis and take note of any activity that looks suspicious.
Chances are your banking institution, credit card company, and others that you interact with have alerts set up to tell you when irregular transactions are occurring in your name. Whether it’s by phone call, email, or text message, these alerts should be taken seriously. They’re designed to protect you and detect issues early on. Even if they’re false alarms get in the habit of investigating each of these alerts thoroughly. Call and verify each alert before dismissing it. Early detection is key in preventing identity theft and mortgage scams from going too far.
Look Before You Leap
Before you purchase a home, you perform an inspection. This inspection ensures that the integrity of the home is intact and that you’re making a wise purchase. While these physical inspections investigate the physical structure of your home, they do little in the way of protecting you from fraudulent activity related to the deed. Before purchasing the home, ensure that there are no liens or past issues with the title of your prospective home. There are programs available to monitor past activity and monitor any future activity on the deed, protecting you from any sort of scam that could occur.
Review Your Policies
Many homeowners make the mistake of assuming that their mortgage insurance or homeowner’s policy will cover mortgage scams. While this may be the case for a select few, fraudulent activity is typically not covered. Before your home becomes the victim of cybercrime, take the time to review your policies. If you find that you’re not covered in the event of a scam or crime, find a program to give you the protection that you need. Don’t wait. Now is the time to protect yourself and your house.
Unsure of whether or not your home is protected from cyber theft and mortgage scams? Allow the experts at Secure Title Lock to help. We’re a team of experienced professionals dedicated to keeping the deed to your property safe. We offer title fraud prevention and identity theft protection. Our vigilant team patrols the web and monitors any activity happening in your name. From property title searches to social security monitoring, no transactions will occur without our team knowing about them. It’s a guarantee of safety that every homeowner should have. With Secure Title Lock, you can rest easy knowing that your home will continue to be your safe haven.