According to a recent report in the Newton Bee, a Connecticut man was arrested late last month for fraudulently selling a house he didn’t own.
The waterfront home in Newton had been unoccupied for sometime before the scam took place. A neighbor became suspicious when workers began to appear at the property. The neighbor alerted the homeowner, who was out of state, and he soon realized that the house had been “sold” without his knowledge.
The local police told the Newton Bee that the scammer went through all the customary administrative steps while fraudulently transferring the property to the buyer. The buyer purchased the house with cash and employed a lawyer to represent him in the deal.
Despite these precautions, the buyer paid the scammer for a fake deed to the home that in no way transferred legal ownership.
Thankfully, the buyer purchased a title insurance policy with Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company (CATIC) on the day of the closing. CATIC reimbursed the buyer for his loss. The company also sent out a newsletter regarding the incident and took the opportunity to distinguish title insurance from fraud insurance:
Given increased incidents of fraud, you may have seen advertisements on the Web or elsewhere for companies such as Home Title Lock, that offer subscription-based monitoring and notification services concerning the land records. They are not, however, insurance products, and the company merely notifies you if fraud is detected, leaving you to pursue your own remedies, such as law enforcement proceedings. As noted in an online article, “Simply knowing that there are things going on affecting your title is not the same as being protected if someone challenges the ownership of your home. That’s what home title insurance is for.” See Home Title Lock – Is it the Same as Home Title Insurance? by Clark Howard Staff, April 14, 2020. Clark Howard, Inc.
The scammer was initially held on a $150,000 bond. According to the Newton Bee, he’s being charged with First Degree Larceny, First Degree Identity Theft, Criminal Impersonation, Forgery in the 2nd Degree, and Money Laundering in the 2nd Degree.
For my thoughts on “title fraud insurance” check out my post: Title Fraud Insurance in Massachusetts.