As housing prices climb in many markets across the country, real estate fraud can become a much more enticing prospect for scammers.

While it’s one of the lesser-known kinds of fraud in Canada, its impact can be devastating. There are two types of real estate fraud that may result in financial losses for home owners — title fraud and foreclosure fraud.

Title fraud happens when a fraudster steals the title to a home. This type of fraud is usually committed after the fraudster steals the owner’s identity, when they sell the home or apply for a new mortgage against it.

Foreclosure fraud happens when homeowners having difficulty making their payments mistakenly turn to a fraudster who convinces them to transfer their property title in return for a loan. Often, the fraudster keeps their loan payments and resells or remortgages the victim’s home.

Fortunately, you can protect yourself with these simple tips:

  • Safeguard your personal financial information.
  • Consult your lawyer before giving another person a right to deal with your home or other assets.
    Contact your mortgage lender first if you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments.
    Research the company or individual who is offering you a loan.
  • Do a land title search with your provincial or territorial land registry office. This search will show the name of the property owner and any mortgages or liens registered on the title.
  • Consider buying title insurance to protect against title fraud. (NC)

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