More on Fraud in Real Estate
More on Fraud in Real Estate
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.
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