Title Fraud… or While you were sleeping I sold your house.
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Thread: Title Fraud… or While you were sleeping I sold your house.

  1. #1
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    Title Fraud… or While you were sleeping I sold your house.

    Shocking…

    Mind-blowing…

    Ridiculous…

    These are the words that came to mind today while reading the Saturday edition of the Toronto Star. Half the front page was dedicated to introducing a story… a story that took up 2 pages inside the paper… a story that made me think those words. An 89 year old man was the victim of title fraud… The first thing I asked myself was, “What is title fraud?” The answer to that question is why I’m posting here… Title fraud starts with Identity theft… Most people are well aware of identity theft these days.. Someone steals your identity, obtains a credit card in your name and runs up bill. However it can be much more serious. Generally with credit card companies, since it wasn’t actually you, they forgive the debt… making that form of identity theft the least of your problems. Identity theft involving title fraud can leave you homeless.

    First, I steal your identity… remember that email you received last week from your bank asking you to confirm your account details.. Gotcha! So now I can pass myself off as you. Now I, acting as you, go with my buddy to a lawyers office and sign a deed over to my buddy. The lawyer checks out our ID and notarizes the deed for a couple hundred bucks. Now my buddy walks down to the local bank and applies for a mortgage. The bank does a quick title check and sees that indeed my buddy does have the title to that land. They give him $300,000 and he walks out. We then make a run for it and look for another city and another victim.

    So you’re sitting there thinking big deal, it’s the banks fault… well then, the jokes on you. Given current Ontario law the bank owns your house. That’s right… the Ontario Court of Appeal decided that a fraudulent mortgage is valid. The bank can kick you out, and sell it. The ran a title search and my buddy was the owner according to the title search. You are left without a house and there’s not a whole lot that you can do. You can attempt to obtain your money via the Land Titles Assurance Fund,however they are backlogged with claims and it could take years (in addition to thousands of dollars) before you see your money again. In the mean time I bet the back seat of your car looks like a wonderful place for your family of four to sleep.

    This has been happening for years, however with recent increases in identity theft, there are increases in title fraud. The government keeps saying that they are trying to help the victims but they still haven’t stepped in and changed the laws or amended the Land Registry Act. In the mean time, you may want to look into title insurance but even that won’t save you now, thanks to the Ontario Court of Appeal many insurance companies are refusing the claim because the mortgage is valid, even if the title was forged.

    So remember… the next time you’re sitting back in your chair, enjoying a a steaming mug of mocha java… that knock at your door, it might not be a visitor. It might be the bank informing you that you no longer own your home. You can thank the government and the system for not feeling the need to protect you, perhaps the Prime Minister will let you sleep on his couch while they sort this out and do the right thing.

    Peace,
    HT
    IT Blog: .:Computer Defense:.
    PnCHd (Pronounced Pinched): Acronym - Point 'n Click Hacked. As in: "That website was pinched" or "The skiddie pinched my computer because I forgot to patch".

  2. #2
    Gonzo District BOFH westin's Avatar
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    do you know how similar the laws in the US are? I really hate my neighbors
    \"Those of us that had been up all night were in no mood for coffee and donuts, we wanted strong drink.\"

    -HST

  3. #3
    Dissident 4dm1n brokencrow's Avatar
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    It's a bit more convoluted here in the States, HT. I work with several real estate appraisers and the FBI's been coming down hard on a few of them involved with mortgage fraud and property flipping. Fortunately, none of my clients have gone down that road. Does any of this sound familiar?

    http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbc...36/APCbusiness

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/mas...to_nightmares/

    Identity theft is bad news, and it's not unrelated to computer security. I've seen insurance agents pull out databases they took from their old employers, 5000 names and socials (#'s), and brag they got THE customer list. 5000 identites, right there laying on the guy's desk! I've worked for mortgage brokers (they're scum, every single one I ever met!), and one I distinctly remember got hacked but kept insisting it was a virus (somebody was staging DoS attacks from his PC...he was getting 3000 emails every 45 minutes, 99% of them admin returns). The guy would absolutely NOT take his PC offline to get it cleaned up until an FBI agent came in to close a mortgage. When the broker mentioned his problems (trying to pick the G-man's head), the G-man backed out, telling the broker he wouldn't close until his system got cleaned up.

    You know what? I won't do business with rinky-dink mom-and-pop outfits (or some slick fast-track wannabes) anymore because I KNOW how bad computer security is in these small offices.
    “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” — Will Rogers

  4. #4
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    HT, I know I saw a story on the Fifth Estate a couple of years ago on this activity happening in Alberta. The reality is there is no 100% guarantee to prevent it but like any risk we can do something about it: reduce risk, accept risk, ignore risk or transfer it. Using Title Insure would transfer it and awareness would hopefully reduce it.
    Goodbye, Mittens (1992-2008). My pillow will be cold without your purring beside my head
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  5. #5
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    Ht, there was a similar incident down here in my part of the woods, a 90 year old had he's identity stolen, he lost he's wallet and important documents while doing the grocery's.

    Anyhow the couple that where ripping him off where junkies, and run up a bill into the hundreds of thousands, buying jewelery a car, and other stuff..

    The police ended up catching them though, but the company's refused to drop the debts and are now chasing the old man for everything.
    He's already lost he's house because off it, and is in a Governement funded nursing home.

    It's a really flecked up world when you get people whom prey on the older generation.

    cheers
    acidtone..

  6. #6
    Gonzo District BOFH westin's Avatar
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    originally posted by:acidtone
    It's a really flecked up world when you get people whom prey on the older generation.
    it is... and has been... it seems that most of the scammers and identity thieves target the elderly... if someone would have called my grandma said they were from the bank and asked for all of her info, she wouldn't have thought twice about giving it out... a lot of the older people just aren't of the mindset that there are people out there that want to rip them off...
    \"Those of us that had been up all night were in no mood for coffee and donuts, we wanted strong drink.\"

    -HST

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