Can an Identity Thief Steal Your Home?

Stories of scammers selling homes out from under unsuspecting homeowners have made the news recently. This is known as title fraud. Another scary scenario is someone stealing your personal information and taking out a mortgage in your name.

Both types of fraud are costly and can take a long time to resolve. Below are some steps you can take to help protect yourself from fraudsters.

How to help protect yourself from title fraud

  • Buy title insurance. This type of insurance helps protect homeowners against risks that your property could carry. It’s relatively inexpensive, and you can buy it years after you’ve bought your home. It won’t prevent fraud but can help ensure you get some compensation and coverage for legal fees required to get a fraudulent sale reversed.

  • Be careful when you’re away. If your home is vacant for long periods, limit who has access to your home to people you trust. Ask them to check in to ensure no one’s pretending the home is theirs. You can also set up online alerts for your address to see if your home is listed for sale.

How to help protect yourself from identity fraud

  • Use an ID theft protection product. Products like Equifax CompleteTM Premier and Equifax CompleteTM Friends and Family will alert you to key changes to your Equifax credit report and score, which can help you detect identity theft sooner. Get the product that’s right for you

  • Carefully dispose of sensitive documents. Shred documents containing information like ​​bank account numbers, social insurance numbers, or any other personal information. You can also black out sensitive information with a redacting pen.

  • Be careful about sharing personal information. Only share personal information and photo identification like health-care cards, driver's licenses, and passports with trusted institutions.

  • Regularly check your credit reports. Keep an eye out for any unauthorized inquiries on your credit reports or any new accounts you didn’t open. Find out how you can check your Equifax credit report for free. You should also monitor your bank account withdrawals and credit card charges for unauthorized activity. 

  • Track your bank statements and bills. If you’re still receiving paper bank statements and credit card bills but suddenly stop receiving them, it might be because fraudsters have changed the address associated with your account.

What to do if you are a victim of identity theft or home title fraud

  • Report the identity theft or fraud to local police and get a police report number.

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports with both nationwide credit reporting agencies. Find out how to place a fraud alert on your Equifax credit report.

  • Report the identity theft or fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

  • If you have an ID theft protection product, like Equifax’s products, contact your provider to help begin the restoration process.

  • If you have title insurance, contact your insurance company.

Consider these products:
Equifax CompleteTM Premier
Get Credit Alerts with Our Most Comprehensive Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Protection Product
$24.95 per month
Equifax CompleteTM Friends and Family
Get Credit Alerts with Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Protection for Two Adults
$34.95 per month