hand holding cell phone showing a bank network

How to Protect Against Title Theft


There are a variety of ways con artists can steal from a homeowner. For example, con artists take hold of personal information and use that information to create fake documents like social security cards and IDs. Using the fake IDs and your forged signature, the con artists then file a title deed with the proper authorities, and the house becomes theirs. In a second example, con artists target a vacant home and then explore to find out who owns the home. The con artist fraudulently transfers the deed, lists the vacant house on the market, and pockets the proceeds. In yet another example, the house is stolen while the owner still lives in it. The fraudulent seller finds a buyer and makes the sell without the owner’s knowledge. In this instance, the owner continues making mortgage payments on a house they no longer own.

Why is Title Theft a Problem?

It’s easier than ever to access homeowner information on the web. Fraudsters steal house titles or deeds in order to achieve financial gain. Victims are forced to reclaim their title and separate themselves from debt tied to their property. Fraudulent scams can damage your credit, making it hard to secure loans, get a mortgage, or land a job. This type of real estate related fraud, while not common, is a real and expensive problem.  

Who is Susceptible?

If you own a home, you are at risk for title theft. A con artist can target any house and forge documents to get a title transferred. There is also a risk for homeowners with high equity and homes that are 100% paid off. These types of homes can net bigger payouts to a con artist and larger loans can be taken out against the equity of these houses. Vacant homes, such as a second home or an investment property, are also targeted by scammers. Seniors may be targeted if they have equity built up in their homes and they are not as likely to recognize signs of theft or take steps to prevent identity theft from occurring online.

What Can Be Done to Protect Your Title?

Keeping track of mortgage and utility bills and logging into accounts online on a routine basis is a good practice to prevent title theft. This is particularly true for a property that you do not live in full time and for vacant properties. Checking your credit report annually, or more frequently, can identify activity, like new lenders or new loans, which should be investigated further. Homeowner title insurance can provide another layer of protection after you buy a home. These policies cover legal fees and can be used to fight fraudulent claims against your home. As with all financial matters, education and vigilance go a long way in protecting you and your family from the dangers of title theft.

Personal - Security Center

Ready to explore how Sunflower Bank can assist you? Speak to a personal banker at a branch near you, contact a specialist on our Wealth Management team, or find the right financial partner on our Commercial Banking team for your business needs. 

Back to Resource Articles

This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.