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Protect Yourself against Deed Theft in FloridaProtect Yourself against Deed Theft in Florida

How to Protect Yourself against Deed Theft in Florida

26 Jul 2021

It is not uncanny to see ads for services promising to protect people from deed theft in Florida. These companies advertise online and offline, attracting many individuals who want to safeguard against deed fraud and similar issues.

However, is it necessary to purchase a “title lock” service to prevent deed theft? In this article, you will discover how to protect yourself against deed theft in Florida. 

Deed Theft in Florida – Understanding the Scheme

Unfortunately, in many cases, it is far simpler to fraud a signature to a deed than dealing with all the paperwork involved in mortgage financing.

The scheme begins when a fraudster chooses a house that is not the owner’s primary residence. Typically, it can be a second home, a rental unit, a vacation home, or any vacant property.

After choosing the property, the fraudster uses the owner’s personal information obtained on the internet or elsewhere. Accordingly, the fraudster assumes the owner’s identity or claim to represent them to conclude the fraud.

Consequently, fraudsters use forged signatures and fake IDs to transfer ownership of the property to themselves with the county’s register of deeds. Then, the criminal can either sell the home or steal the property’s equity by borrowing money against it. 

Preventing Deed Theft in Florida – Do I Need to Hire a Special Service for Protection? 

Many companies that promise to protect customers against deed theft use real-world situations as a marketing strategy to attract clients. Usually, these services cost around $150 annually, an average of $15 per month.

While such companies promise to monitor your property deed and prevent title fraud, the best way to ensure your property deed is safe is to work with an expert title attorney

Plus, there are feasible strategies you can use to protect yourself against deed theft for free, as provided in the following topics.

Always be Aware 

First, check your property record with your county’s register of deeds. Ensure to do it periodically and look for any documents that neither you nor your attorney has prepared or signed. 

Then, double-check for loans you did apply for, liens of professionals you did not hire, or court filings. For example, such liens could involve contractors, subcontractors, or brokers. 

Nowadays, there are counties in Florida that provide consumer notification services. This way, you can register for free to receive an email or text message when someone records a document on your property.

Be Careful with Personal Information 

Avoid sharing sensitive information and be extremely careful when posting information on social media. Also, the appropriate authorities must have your correct mailing address in case they need to notify you about your property.

If you are absent from a property, such as a vacation home or rental unit, make sure to forward all the mail to your residency. Or, you can ask a reliable person to pick up mail and visit the house periodically. 

Pay Attention to Odd Situations 

Usually, odd situations start occurring once someone tries to steal the deed to a property. For instance, when you become a victim of deed theft, you stop receiving the property’s bills (e.g., water bills) and property tax assessments. 

Also, if you have a vacant property, pay attention to sudden rises in utility bills. In many situations, an absent owner may find unauthorized individuals living on their property and using their water or electricity services. 

Communicate with Tenants and Lenders

If you have a rental property, it is crucial to talk with your tenants periodically. In many cases, landlords stop receiving rent payments and discover that tenants have been paying another person (fraudster).

Also, there are cases in which property owners find out they are in default on a loan they did not ask for, or they get notice of foreclosure proceedings.

I Have Been a Victim of Deed Fraud – What to Do Now? 

If there are signs you are a victim of deed fraud, make sure to act as quickly as possible. Get a certified copy of the fraudulent document from the county register’s office and seek guidance with an expert attorney to confirm the ownership of the property.

How to Protect Yourself against Deed Theft in Florida – Work with Marina Title Today 

Although some companies offer “title lock” services promising to monitor the title and deed to a property 24/7, the best way to avoid deed theft is to work with an expert title attorney.

Waste no time and money with uncertainty. Call Marina Title today at (305) 901-5628 or send us an email to Romy@MarinaTitle.com to schedule a consultation.

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