Attorney and L.A. native, Alois Phillips was about to sell her home and relocate to a new neighborhood, but her dream abruptly turned into a nightmare after falling victim to real estate title fraud. What has become a growing criminal activity across the U.S., deed fraud occurs when someone obtains the title to your property by changing the ownership from your name to theirs.
Victims of title fraud lose the right to mortgage their homes, cannot leverage equity, and cannot sell the property until they regain their title rights through the courts. This process can take time, effort, and money
Phillips became a captive in her own house fearful that if she left the fraudster could take possession of her home, which was for a time—until everything got sorted out—in his name.
According to the LA County Consumer and Business Affairs (LACCBA), in 2018 Californians lost nearly $125 million to fraud alone and those stats continue to climb.
To that end the County’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs operates the Enhanced Homeowner Notification Program. In the program, theLos Angeles County Registrar-Recroder’s Office sends you copies of documents recorded against your home. This gives you a chance to review the real estate documents to be sure they are legitimate. It also gives you your best chance to save your home from a foreclosure.
If you live in Los Angeles County, you will be mailed copies of documents that change ownership, show loans taken against your home, or a Notice of Default or Notice of Sale. The notification will describe the mailing and explain where to call for help.
Recently, L.A. County expanded the program to allow you to receive even faster notifications through email. With the new e-Notification program, in addition to receiving paper copies by mail, you will receive an email statement advising you of the recording on your property. Residents must, however, sign up to receive e-Notification alerts.
Owners can learn more and register at assessor.lacounty.gov/news-information/enotification.