Many homeowners are unaware of the dangers posed by identity thieves when it comes to their real estate investment. Unfortunately, real estate title fraud is on the rise. According to the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP), real estate industry insiders now peg the average case of real estate fraud at $300,000. In comparison, the RCMP estimates the average credit card fraud case in Canada to be $1,200.
Help to protect yourself and your investment with these tips:
1. Check your credit reports (www.equifax.ca, www.transunion.ca), financial and bank statements regularly for inconsistencies, unknown charges and unauthorized credit inquiries.
2. Don't give out personal information in person, over the phone or on the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with, how it will be used and if it will be shared.
3. Protect your mail, be alert to billing cycles and when bills or mail haven't arrived.
4. Shred any documents or materials with personal or financial information prior to discarding them.
5. Seek advice from a real estate expert who is licensed in your area when shopping for a home.
6. Speak to a mortgage professional about how title insurance could help protect your investment.