Home, it’s where the heart is… that is until that heart gets taken illegally by somebody else and you are left evicted on the street. While that seems drastic identity theft, home loss is more common than you think. Identity theft accounts for more than 160 million dollars in loss stolen from Americans and it happens so often that you could be next.
Who are the Common Targets?
There are two main categories of groups that are taken advantage of when it comes to home identity theft; elderly home owners and those with multiple properties such as rentals or vacation homes.
Elderly homeowners are targeted for three main reasons. The first is that they typically have homes that have greater property values and as such, make more lucrative targets for identity thieves. Second, they are less equipped to handle their personal data on the internet. Data powers our digital age but it also has negative side effects.
Older generations did not grow up knowing the consequences of digital data, and don’t have the skills to protect themselves against it. Finally, research has shown that those who are 65 years or older do not recognize signs of fraud as younger people might.
The second group at risk are people who own multiple properties. Hackers looked for these people because they typically pay less attention to an auxiliary property than they would to their own home. They also tend to miss signals of fraud such as foreclosure notices or bills because they are sent to a different address. When you combine these two items, they make an easy target for people looking to make a quick dollar.
However, just because you may not fall into one of these two groups does not mean you won’t be targeted. Access to public data has never been easier and this only assists the hackers in stealing your identity. Knowing the signs of home title fraud brought on by identity theft can help you in protecting not only yourself but your home.
Signs to Watch Out For
There are five simple signs you can watch out for when it comes to home identity theft. First, know your lenders. If you receive financial documents from an unknown lender, don’t sign before you investigate. Second, check your loan status. Don’t be the last to know if you have defaulted on a loan you never requested. This could result in delayed legal action and loss.
The third sign comes if you receive unexpected news of a foreclosure on your property. While it may be too late at this point, there’s still a chance you could still take legal action. Fourth, if you own vacant property, check your utility bill. A sudden increase could mean that you are at risk for fraud. Finally, if you have tenants, make sure they are paying you and not someone else.
How Can Title Insurance Help?
An average 65-year-old American will have a net worth of around $200,000, 77% of this is home equity. Having knowledge of the above signs will help protect you from home title fraud, but you can also look to title insurance to help control the things you can’t when looking to purchase real estate.
Title insurance allows you to feel comfortable in your property decisions by protecting you from past error with the property. Home Title Lock is one of many services that provides customers with the assurance they need to purchase property.
They provide services such as protection against title forgeries and filing errors, as well as making sure that you will never deal with surprise heirs and conflicting wills. These services can help you get peace of mind when purchasing property, but they won’t protect against new threats to the property.
However, title insurance allows you to discover fraud quickly and can assist in preventing scammers related to the fraud that you uncovered. The world can be a scary place and it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by just how much you need to protect yourself.
Being cognizant of that fear will allow you to not only protect yourself, but it will also allow you to find services that want to aid you in that quest. At the end of the day you both have the same goal: creating comfort in your home.
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Author: Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action Podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.