Title Theft and Fraud in Maryland
Title theft and fraud, in general, is one of the most common types of real estate crime that occurs in Maryland. Title thieves commit crimes such as forging signatures on deeds or using fake documents to obtain the title information for a property, and filing fraudulent document in probate to take all interest in an estate’s property. This can be done by either altering a deed or obtaining another person’s signature without their knowledge. When this happens, it can make it difficult for owners to sell their homes or access financial assistance when they need it.
What is title theft?
Title theft is the unauthorized transfer of a property’s title to another person or entity. Title theft can occur through deception, fraud, or force. If you are a victim of this crime, you could have lost your home, land, or your interest in property.
How does title theft occur?
In most cases, title theft is committed by someone with some connection or financial interest in the property:
- A person who is otherwise authorized (e.g., a personal representative) creates fictional debts against businesses or trusts; he then buys up assets owned by those businesses or trusts using those fake debts as currency.
- Someone buys up mortgages on houses without actually intending to repay them—perhaps because they’ve defaulted on their own mortgage payments and want more time before foreclosure proceedings begin against them; perhaps because they’re trying to avoid foreclosure altogether; or perhaps because they just want more control over their finances (and don’t think authorities will notice).
What are the signs that I may have been a victim of title theft?
If you think you’ve been a victim of title theft, you probably won’t know it until the problem is discovered. Here are some signs that something may be wrong:
- You don’t remember signing a deed. If you’re like most people, your home was bought with a loan and the title was transferred to the lender’s name once payment in full was made. Before this happens, though, an authorized representative such as an attorney or real estate agent will likely have met with everyone involved to make sure all parties are on board with the deal.
- You don’t remember selling your home. The same goes for selling—if this happened without your knowledge or consent (or any other reason), there would have been paperwork involved that would have required signatures from all parties involved in both buying and selling agreements (that is, if they were legitimate). The person who sold their house without ever having these documents signed should have had questions about why this happened; if they didn’t ask them, then something must be wrong! Remembering when exactly these transactions took place can help determine whether or not fraud has taken place here as well as what steps need taking next so we can undo any damage done by tampering with property titles back in our state’s history when we were still trying figure out how best manage real estate transactions ourselves too…
What should I do if I think my title has been stolen?
If you suspect that your title has been stolen, you should contact an attorney and the Consumer Protection Division of Maryland’s Office of Attorney General. You should contact an attorney in your area who specializes in real estate law.