Scammers are combining identity theft and mortgage fraud to steal people’s houses right from under them, the FBI warns. A few cases have been reported where thieves find house, figure out who owns it, assume their identity, then forge signatures on the paperwork, get the deed transferred over to themselves, and then quickly sell it and run off. In some cases, victims were left paying the mortgage on a house they no longer own. To combat it, the FBI recommends:
* If you receive a payment book or information from a mortgage company that’s not yours, whether your name is on the envelope or not, don’t just throw it away. Open it, figure out what it says, and follow up with the company that sent it.
* From time to time, it’s also a good idea to check all information pertaining to your house through your county’s deeds office. If you see any paperwork you don’t recognize or any signature that is not yours, look into it.
Thankfully they also say that “home stealing” so far does not appear to be very common.