Last updated: February 14, 2023

The Growing Problem of Property Record Fraud

Property record fraud impacts citizens from coast to coast. Here’s a look at what it is and how local governments and citizens can safeguard against it.
Posted by Marcy Swisher
Aerial view of a residential neighborhood

Property record fraud is a growing problem in the United States, with criminals using fraudulent deeds to steal homes and money. This type of fraud is becoming increasingly sophisticated, with criminals taking advantage of loopholes in land records to commit their crimes.

In this article, we will explore what property record fraud is, how it works, and some steps local governments and citizens can take to prevent it.

What is Property Record Fraud and How Does it Work?

Property record fraud involves the manipulation of documents related to real estate transactions in order to defraud individuals or institutions. This type of fraud often occurs when someone illegally obtains a title to a property or changes the records associated with it, without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

Property record fraud can take many forms, such as mortgage scams, title theft, and other types of real estate scams. In some cases, criminals may use forged documents to try to transfer ownership of a property. Other times, they may use false information to obtain loans against a property they do not own.

Regardless of how it happens, property record fraud can have devastating consequences for victims and their families.

What are the Most Common Types of Property Record Fraud?

The most common types of property record fraud include deed forgery, title transfer scams, and fraudulent property documents.

  • Deed forgery involves the unauthorized creation or alteration of a deed in order to transfer ownership of a property without the knowledge or consent of the rightful owner.
  • Title transfer scams involve the use of false identification documents or forged signatures to gain access to a property without paying for it.
  • Fraudulent property documents involve the use of false information on official records, such as mortgage applications and closing statements, in order to gain access to funds or properties to which they are not entitled.

How Can Citizens Protect Themselves from Property Record Fraud?

Person Checking on property records

Property record fraud is a serious problem that can cost citizens time and money. It is important to be proactive in protecting against fraudsters who may try to gain access to homeownership records or titles.

There are steps citizens can take on their own to prevent property fraud, such as checking their home ownership records regularly and implementing measures to protect their title against fraudulent activities.

By taking these and other precautions, citizens can help safeguard against property record fraudsters and their schemes to ensure their property remains safe and secure from potentially fraudulent activities.

Using Technology Solutions to Prevent and Detect Property Record Fraud

In addition to the steps above, technology can also play a role in protecting property owners from fraud.

  • AI-based property record solutions are becoming increasingly popular as they allow for automated verification of documents and identification of potentially fraudulent activities. These solutions can be used by governments, businesses, and individuals to ensure the authenticity of their property records and protect against any fraudulent activities.
  • In addition to using secure cloud-based document storage systems for land records, governments can also provide citizens with access to alert systems to empower them to act quickly if they suspect property record fraud.
  • Lastly, some agencies are looking into the use of blockchain technology for real estate records. Blockchain technology provides a secure, immutable ledger of all transactions related to a particular property, making it difficult for anyone to tamper with the records.

Property record fraud is a serious crime that affects homeowners, buyers, and sellers alike. It can lead to financial losses, legal disputes, and even identity theft. Fortunately, there are preventative measures communities can take, including utilizing the latest technology solutions, to help prevent and detect property record fraud.

Ready to speak to someone about your software needs?

Education & Inspiration

Resources for Local Government Officials

Social Media Tips for Government Agencies

Social Media Tips for Government Agencies

Given the popularity of social media amongst the general public, it’s important for governments at both the federal and state level to develop a social media presence to better connect with citizens. 

read more