Seller Impersonation Fraud happens when a specific person or group is impersonating property owners to illegally sell commercial or residential property. Sophisticated fraudsters are using the real property owner’s Social Security and driver’s license numbers in the transaction, as well as legitimate notary credentials, which may be applied without the notary’s knowledge.
Fraudsters prefer to use email and text messages to communicate, allowing them to mask themselves and commit crimes from anywhere.
Due to the types of property being targeted, it can take months or years for the actual property owner to discover the fraud. Property monitoring services offered by county recorder’s offices are helpful, especially if the fraud is discovered prior to the transfer of money.
Where approved by state regulators, consumers can purchase the American Land Title Association (ALTA) Homeowner’s Policy of Title Insurance for additional fraud protection.
Watch For Red Flags To Determine Seller Impersonation Fraud
Consider Heightened Scrutiny or Halt A Transaction When A Property:
- Is vacant or non-owner occupied, such as investment property, vacation property, or rental property
- Has a different address than the owner’s address or tax mailing address
- Has no outstanding mortgage or liens
- Is for sale or sold below market value
Consider Heightened Scrutiny or Halt A Transaction When A Seller:
- Wants a quick sale, generally in less than three weeks, and may not negotiate fees
- Wants a cash buyer
- Is refusing to attend the signing and claims to be out of state or country
- Is difficult to reach via phone and only wants to communicate by text or email, or refuses to meet via video call
- Demands proceeds be wired
- Refuses or is unable to complete multifactor authentication or identity verification
- Wants to use their own notary
Contact National Title Agency Today To Start Your Journey!