Rick Kahler: Can home title thieves steal your house? No, they really can’t.
Home title theft is a new threat, and it’s one I only learned about from radio commercials, frantically suggesting that your home can be literally stolen from you. They claim that thieves can deed your property to themselves, and then they’ll mortgage or even sell it without you knowing. In fact, they might have already done it! Maybe all your equity is gone! Maybe you won’t even know, until you get foreclosure notices, or a new owner knocking on your door!
Of course, after all those alarms go off, the ads have a solution. You can buy their title theft insurance. They promise that they’ll shield your title, monitor it 24/7, and even alert you when a fraudulent title transfer is filed. One company charges $79 a year for $1,000,000 of title theft insurance. It’s highly unlikely any such company would ever pay out a dime on a claim.
These claims are so completely over-the-top that these companies either don’t understand laws or are deliberately stretching the facts. Like a lot of things, these outlandish claims include a small grain of truth. It’s true that anyone could forge your name to a document, including a deed that supposedly transfers title to the forger. That deed could even be filed with the county register of deeds.
But that doesn’t mean someone has actually stolen the title to your home.
First, a forged deed is not valid and doesn’t convey anything. Only you can legally transfer title to a third party. If a buyer or a lender rely on a forged deed, and they don’t do any due diligence on a property’s title, they are the ones out of luck. They, not the property owner, will ultimately lose any money they paid to the thief.
Click here to read the full article about the “title theft” concept. ~ Watertown Public Opinion