Benchmark Title Company, LLC


More on Fraud in Real Estate

John Howe


More on Fraud in Real Estate

Where does fraud begin? Usually at the first meeting with a client. 

Now please don’t take offense, read on!

You are all very good at your job and none of this is to presume that you are a part of any of this other than the perpetrator has to start somewhere. When they come to you they are looking to purchase property, sell property, borrow against property, or all or any combination of the above, sometimes even with property they don’t own or have no interest in at all.

It has happened that through a series of forged documents recorded in the county records that a clever individual will sell, and skip out with the proceeds, property they do not legally own. A good job will fool everybody in some cases, however, some ideas come to mind that we all can do to help prevent this bad situation.

When you first meet and interview a potential client ask for photo identification, maybe one other to verify the validity of the first ID information, and make a copy for your file. A person attempting to commit a fraud very often does not have two fake ID’s under the same wrong name. As a title company Benchmark does this for every closing. This will not offend the client if handled in a manner that explains the reason, and the assurance that we all operate under the “Privacy Act” wherein no one can get information from our files that is not a party to the transaction. In some cases this also serves to be a protection for you as the agent in the event of some inappropriate activity or threat by the party. You know who they are and the information is in your file in the event of the need for the authorities.

As a title company, our closers are trained to pay attention, watch for nervousness, and if something gets there attention to check signatures against previously signed documents that will be in our files. An example would be the new deed or mortgage and any prior deeds or mortgages that we have from our search process.

Simple things like this can prevent some of the costly activities we see far too often in our industry. Fraud and forgery is presently the largest cause of claims in the title industry. We all need to be aware of our surroundings and who our clients really are.
Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email:  

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Vice President and General Counsel

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Bethany Bond
Marketing Director

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221
Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
Title Fax: 618-239-3757
Fax Orders: 618-310-1589
President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236
Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
Manager: Randi Schur

4215 S. State Rte 159
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

Benchmark Title is celebrating our 10 Year Anniversary!!!

With 10 years of the highest quality of service, & the most accurate product in the industry, we would like to say
Thank You for making us successful!!!!

Get 10% off your title premium if you send us an order on April 10th and April 17th!!!!

Dates to Remember

April 19 - Plese wish our Vice President of Escrow Operations, Michelle Null, a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

June 6, 2008 - First Horizon Golf Tournament for Habitat for Humanity at Arlington Golf Course.  Contact Jamie Hollenkamp at 618-288-8656 or at

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