Wayne Bell, the Real Estate Commissioner of the State of California, explains what every property owner needs to know to prevent getting ripped off.
“Fraud unfortunately is alive and well,” he tells our viewers. “And what we have been trying to tell people is that vigilance and a healthy dose of skepticism and awareness is the key to avoiding such fraud.”
1. Look at your property records as often as possible to make sure there’s been no activity. If you’re in a state that offers online access, you can check your records from home. If not, take the time to visit your county recorder’s office to review your property.
2. Cities and counties throughout the country offer a program where homeowners can register their property with a city register’s office. If your city or county offers this option, take advantage of it because you can sign up to be notified electronically if there’s any activity on your property.
3. Make certain your title insurance protects you against deed fraud. 4. Do not leave your house unoccupied or unattended for long periods of time. An empty house signals an opportunity for fraudsters to impersonate the owner and run myriad scams. The best bet for homeowners is to invest in a house sitter.
5. Make certain you are still receiving property-tax notifications and if you start receiving ramped up solicitations for home improvements, furniture, and insurance, that can be a red flag that something is happening to your title.
6. If you think you’ve been the victim of deed fraud, contact your law enforcement authorities to find the real estate fraud unit within your county. The bottom line, this is a specialized crime and to open a criminal investigation it’s critical that you get to the appropriate government entity. If you can afford a lawyer, get one. But also determine if your title insurance policy covers legal service.
Here is a link to a comprehensive fraud alert.
Ripoff Report Investigates is a web series that boldly takes on consumer fraud with a fresh gonzo style. Watch the Promo.
An Emmy-Award winning crew of Investigative journalist sound the alarm about current scams trending on Ripoff Report as well as uncovering new ripoffs. Don't become a victim!
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