Is Home Title Lock "Insurance" A Waste Of Money?
Updated: Sep 9, 2022
Updated September 2022
Recently, we have had clients ask us about a service called “Title Lock” and if it is necessary. You may have heard about it too, as it is frequently advertised on the radio and goes something like this:
"The FBI SAYS YOU MAY NOT OWN YOUR HOME. Home Title theft is a serious cyberthreat and growing problem that can and will affect you. Save yourself and your home - with TITLE LOCK. For as low as $15 a month……..”
It is particularly targeted against the elderly, those who may not understand their rights, and against those who are trusting souls.
We decided to take a deeper dive into this increasing cyberthreat and found some really great information via Fox5 news out of Atlanta, Georgia. The Title to your home is an important document that you want to protect but this product doesn't do anything for you. The people that promote it want you to believe it is an extra safety step, similar to title insurance, but it's actually useless. It claims to protect the homeowner against title fraud but it’s not insurance of any kind.
It does not protect you in any way from a scammer fraudulently transferring your title. It is more of a deed monitoring service that periodically checks in to see if your title has been transferred OUT of your name.
If it has, they notify you and then provide ZERO assistance in helping. So, AFTER the fraud has taken place, they alert you. The time at which they alert you is based upon when they decide to do a random check. So, it could take days, weeks even months to find out about it. And then they don’t even help you solve any problems that may have been created as a result. The illegal (and false) transfer of your title could happen, but it is very rare. Title fraud occurs when a scammer forges your name on a deed and then files it at the county courthouse and takes out a loan against the home. Title Lock claims to protect you against this, but it’s not a legitimate representation of what it actually does at all. Anybody can fill out a blank deed and forge your name to it, then file that deed at the courthouse. If that happens, the law assumes you will act eventually to protect your ownership, and charge the scammer with FRAUD.
If the scammer has used your home as collateral and taken a loan out against your property, it is important to know that you are not responsible to pay it back. The scammer never legally owned your house, so the lender has no legal claim on your property. If they tried to foreclose, that would be considered “wrongful foreclosure.” The lender probably required the scam borrower to pay for Lender's Title Insurance to protect the lender against fraud just like this. The title insurance company would probably have to eat the loss, then try to recover against the scam borrower. In most counties in Ohio, you can access the county property ownership records online free of charge and “monitor” your deed yourself.
If you live in Franklin County, use the FraudSleuth tool to monitor your property.
Most counties offer a free alert system. Simply search for your county recorder's office to determine what fraud alert system is available to you.
FraudSleuth is a tool to help detect possible fraudulent activity on your name that can affect your property by automatically searching documents filed at the Franklin County Recorder’s Office. Users can create profiles for any individual or business name and receive an alert when a document is recorded in our office with that name.
We know that purchasing a home is one of the largest investments people make and that is why we place a high level importance on your property deed(s). We continue to partner with attorney Marie Donofrio, owner of Title Connect Agency, to ensure a smooth process when protecting your property within your estate plan.
If you live in Ohio and want to make sure your home and other assets are properly protected, contact us at 614-760-1801 to discuss an estate planning strategy.
You can watch the full Atlanta news story for even more information about Title Lock. https://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/title-lock-insurance-is-a-waste-of-your-money.amp
The information provided in our blog does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available in these articles are for general informational purposes only. Information in our blog may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.