Real Estate fraud is not as com­mon as oth­er types of fraud such as cred­it card fraud. But the con­se­quences of it are very real and can result in a sig­nif­i­cant loss and expense.  In the worst case sce­nario it could mean los­ing your home!

What is Real Estate Fraud?  The 2 most com­mon types are Title Fraud and Fore­clo­sure Fraud.

In the case of Title Fraud, it starts with iden­ti­ty theft. A thief obtains your per­son­al infor­ma­tion and then iden­ti­fies him­self as you.  Iden­ti­ty theft can occur in a mul­ti­tude of ways, includ­ing every­thing from com­put­er hack­ing, dump­ster div­ing, mail­box theft or break and entry.

Once the thief has obtained your iden­ti­ty he assumes title to your prop­er­ty and either sells your home or obtains a new or larg­er mort­gage on the prop­er­ty.   Once the mon­ey from the sale or new mort­gage is advanced to the thief he dis­ap­pears.  You may not be aware of this fraud until you receive a knock on the door from the per­son claim­ing to be the new own­er, or from the mort­gage hold­er try­ing to col­lect pay­ments.

In the case of Fore­clo­sure Fraud, it is a “legal” process where a mort­gage lender takes pos­ses­sion of a home for unpaid debt, (unpaid mort­gage pay­ments).  The fraud occurs when a crim­i­nal takes advan­tage of a sit­u­a­tion where a home­own­er is hav­ing finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties pay­ing the mort­gage.  An offer is made for a loan to cov­er expens­es and con­sol­i­date loans, in exchange for upfront fees and an agree­ment to trans­fer prop­er­ty title to the crim­i­nal.  The crim­i­nal will then ignore the agree­ment and not make any pay­ments for tax­es or the mort­gage, keep­ing all pay­ments made by the home own­er. The crim­i­nal could also remort­gage or sell the home and leave with the mon­ey.  In the end the home­own­er will lose the home and be even fur­ther in debt!

How do we pro­tect our­selves from this seri­ous fraud?  The first line of defense is to do every­thing you can to pro­tect your iden­ti­ty.  Read our blog on pre­vent­ing Iden­ti­ty fraud and oth­er use­ful tools can be found on gov­ern­ment web­sites.

Here are some tips to pre­vent falling prey to Real Estate Fraud.

  • If you are hav­ing finan­cial prob­lems, and dif­fi­cul­ty mak­ing mort­gage pay­ments:
  • Con­tact your lender first.  Your lender wants to help you find a way to work things out, and may sur­prise you with solu­tions.
  • Before you give anoth­er per­son a right to deal with your per­son­al assets, con­sult with a lawyer that is work­ing for you, not the poten­tial lender.
  • Con­sult your provin­cial land reg­istry office to ensure that the title of your home is in your name.
  • Check your cred­it report reg­u­lar­ly to make sure the infor­ma­tion is accu­rate. You can get a cred­it report for free by mail­ing your request to one of the two cred­it report­ing agen­cies, Equifax and Tran­sUnion at least once a year.
  • Con­sid­er get­ting title insur­ance. Title insur­ance cov­ers loss­es relat­ed to title fraud and legal expens­es to restore a title. There are two types of title insur­ance, for lender pro­tec­tion and or indi­vid­ual pro­tec­tion when there is no longer a mort­gage.

If all these tips fail and you believe you are the vic­tim of Real Estate fraud.  Con­tact the Cana­di­an Anti Fraud Cen­tre (CAFC), a nation­al anti-fraud call cen­tre, at 1–888-495‑8501 or  You should also report the sit­u­a­tion to the police, and record the police report num­ber. Report the fraud to the two cred­it-report­ing agen­cies, Equifax and Tran­sUnion.  Con­tact your provin­cial land reg­istry office as soon as pos­si­ble. Find out what laws may exist in your province to pro­tect you if you are a vic­tim of real estate fraud. Con­tact your finan­cial insti­tu­tion. Keep all of the doc­u­ments that pro­vide evi­dence of the fraud. Record the name of the per­son you spoke to at the bank, as well as the date and time you called and when you became aware that you are a vic­tim of fraud.

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Allan Baum
Security Industry veteran with over 30+ years in the industry. Founded family owned and operated Protection Plus in 1994 with his wife and has overseen its growth since. In addition to working with his wife and son, Allan has assigned the role of Chief Canine Officer to his trusted dog Waub, who joins him at the office every day.