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House Stealing
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No! You!
 
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Join Date: May 17, 2006
House Stealing - June 24, 2008, 08:23 AM

From motorcyles to homes! Why are we scamming ourselves blind? At this point, I'm more worried about our own people here in the US than terrorists. lol.


Article:

What do you get when you combine two popular rackets these days—identity theft and mortgage fraud? A totally new kind of crime: house stealing.

Here’s how it generally works:

… The con artists start by picking out a house to steal—say, YOURS.
… Next, they assume your identity—getting a hold of your name and personal information (easy enough to do off the Internet) and using that to create fake IDs, social security cards, etc.
… Then, they go to an office supply store and purchase forms that transfer property.
… After forging your signature and using the fake IDs, they file these deeds with the proper authorities, and lo and behold, your house is now THEIRS.*

There are some variations on this theme…
… Con artists look for a vacant house—say, a vacation home or rental property—and do a little research to find out who owns it. Then, they steal the owner’s identity, go through the same process of transferring the deed, put the empty house on the market, and pocket the profits.
… Or, the fraudsters steal a house a family is still living in…find a buyer (someone, say, who is satisfied with a few online photos)…and sell the house without the family even knowing. In fact, the rightful owners continue right on paying the mortgage for a house they no longer own.

It can get even more complicated than this, as we learned in a recent case out of Los Angeles that we investigated with the IRS. Last year, a real estate business owner in southeast Los Angeles pled guilty to leading a scam that defrauded more than 100 homeowners and lenders out of some $12 million. She promised to help struggling homeowners pay their mortgages by refinancing their loans. Instead, she and her partners in crime used stolen identities or “straw buyers” (people who are paid for the illegal use of their personal information) to purchase these homes. They then pocketed the money they borrowed but never made any mortgage payments. In the process, the true owners lost the title to their homes and the banks were out the money they had loaned to fake buyers.

So how can you prevent your house from getting stolen? Not easily, we’re sorry to say. The best you can do at this point is to stay vigilant. A few suggestions:
  • 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.
House-stealing is not too common at this point, but we’re keeping an eye out for any major cases or developing trends. Please call the FBI or your local police if you think you’ve been victimized.

* - Since the paperwork is fraudulent, the house doesn't legally belong to the con artists.


Miami Girl


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June 24, 2008, 08:33 AM

sooooooo, scamming anyone?


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dressing up like a fruity gangster and going to Sterling, that is like wearing a tuxedo just to go to the bathroom.
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June 24, 2008, 08:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miami
It can get even more complicated than this, as we learned in a recent case out of Los Angeles that we investigated with the IRS. Last year, a real estate business owner in southeast Los Angeles pled guilty to leading a scam that defrauded more than 100 homeowners and lenders out of some $12 million. She promised to help struggling homeowners pay their mortgages by refinancing their loans. Instead, she and her partners in crime used stolen identities or “straw buyers” (people who are paid for the illegal use of their personal information) to purchase these homes. They then pocketed the money they borrowed but never made any mortgage payments. In the process, the true owners lost the title to their homes and the banks were out the money they had loaned to fake buyers.
There is a lot of this out there. I do some pro bono work through the DC Bar Landlord-Tenant Clinic and have helped people that have fallen victim to this type of scam. It's disgusting to me that people are preying on those that have fallen upon hard times. They throw a bunch of paper at them in the hopes that they don't read it or understand it. I hope they all end up in jail.
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June 24, 2008, 08:40 AM

My dead grandmother had her identity stolen somehow just the other week. Apparently, capital one still found her credit worthy and some guy in Long Island got 5k in crap off the InterWeb...

If I had known that I could use her credit, "she" would've been co-signing me a mortgage loan.
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June 24, 2008, 08:41 AM

Thats crazy!


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June 24, 2008, 08:55 AM

I just found out that a home at the end of our street sold about 6 times in 2 years (with no for sale sign ever posted..hmmm.) Each time the price went up from $50k to $100K and at the end the house was abandoned.


Miami Girl


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June 25, 2008, 11:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2kCBR600JCA
My dead grandmother had her identity stolen somehow just the other week. Apparently, capital one still found her credit worthy and some guy in Long Island got 5k in crap off the InterWeb...

If I had known that I could use her credit, "she" would've been co-signing me a mortgage loan.
My mother died in 2001, and I still periodically receive loan and credit card offers addressed her. Most impressive is the fact that I have moved twice since her death, the first time from Kansas to Maryland, the second from Balitmore to Gaithersburg, and yet they have diligently followed "her". I even called Discovery and told them she was dead, but they still send offers. I have to admit that it has been a temptation to fill out one of these 0% APR until July 2009 offers and stick the money somewhere to earn interest, just to prove a point. But the penalties for fraud override the temptation pretty well.


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June 25, 2008, 11:53 AM

How do I stop my house from being stolen?

I park it in a different spot every day.


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