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Protection from Deed Fraud

The crooks are everywhere. You may not have heard of “Deed Fraud,” but it has become a real problem in some areas of the United States. There are several ways in which a crafty criminal can steal the deed to your property.

Since the scam takes some time to put together, the scammers often target vacant homes. The vacant property could be empty for a variety of reasons: (1) the owner is now deceased; (2) it could be a vacation home; (3) it could even be a plot of vacant land. Sometimes the fraudster will actually move into the home. More often, the criminal will rent the property and collect the rents illegally. Other times they may forge the name of the true owner on a deed, sign and seal a notary acknowledgment, and have the deed recorded to themselves. Later, they can put the house up for sale and have an unwitting buyer purchase it. The culprit can even take out a home equity loan and steal the equity in the house.

North Carolina now has a great new tool to fight Deed Fraud. Approximately 75 of our counties now offer fraud detection alert systems. If you sign up with the Register of Deeds in your county, you will receive Real Time Notification if someone records a deed under your name. You can apply by using the email address for Gaston County’s Fraud Detection Alert, which is https://deeds.gastongov.com/external/Sentry/Home.aspx. This is a free service of our Register of Deeds.

Some title insurance companies also have enhanced title policies which offer post-closing fraud coverage (there is an additional price for the enhanced title policy).

If you are interested in discussing Deed Fraud, or if you will be buying or selling a home in the near future, please feel free to call us. We have three experienced real estate attorneys who are available to help you in these areas.

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Stott, Hollowell, Windham & Stancil, PLLC

Stott, Hollowell, Windham & Stancil, PLLC offers legal knowledge and experience spanning over 40 years to provide quality legal services to the greater Gaston and Charlotte regions.

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