Title Theft

Cosmo Boyd |

"Title theft" typically refers to a form of property fraud where the ownership title of a piece of property, often real estate, is transferred or sold without the knowledge or consent of the legitimate owner. This fraudulent transfer of title can lead to the legitimate owner losing possession or control of the property. Here's a brief overview of how it typically works:


  • Identity Theft: It usually begins with the fraudster stealing the legitimate owner's identity. This can be done using various methods, such as phishin scams, mail theft, or data breaches.
  • Forgery: Using the stolen identity information, the fraudster forges documents that appear to transfer the property's title from the legitimate owner to themselves or to a third party. The documents might include deeds, affidavits, and notary acknowledgments.
  • Filing Fraudulent Documents: The fraudster then files these forged documents with the appropriate county recorder's office or land registry, making it seem as if the property's ownership has been legitimately transferred.
  • Profiting from the Fraud: Once the title has been "transferred", the fraudster might:
  1. Sell the property to an unsuspecting buyer.
  2. Take out mortgages or loans against the property and then abscond with the proceeds.
  3. Rent out the property and collect the rental income.
  • Discovery of the Fraud: In many cases, the legitimate owner might not become aware of the title theft until:
  1. They try to sell or refinance their property.
  2. They begin receiving bills or notices of default for mortgages they didn't take out.
  3. They are contacted by someone claiming to have bought their property.
  • Resolution can be Challenging: Unraveling title theft and restoring the title to its rightful owner can be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. Legal action might be required, and victims might have to work with law enforcement, attorneys, title companies, and financial institutions to resolve the matter.


  • Regularly monitor your credit report for any suspicious activities.
  • Consider investing in title insurance or a title monitoring service.
  • Secure personal information both physically (e.g., important documents in a safe) and digitally (e.g., using strong, unique passwords).
  • Be wary of unsolicited offers or notices related to your property.
  • Title theft underscores the importance of safeguarding one's personal information and regularly monitoring property records and credit reports for signs of suspicious activity.