Being a homeowner comes with a number of responsibilities. You will need to perform regular maintenance of the home itself, the yard and any other surrounding property that you own. You may also have to comply with homeowners’ association regulations if you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, and you also have to stay on top of your mortgage payments. While owning a home in Ohio is an achievement, it also takes work.

It is also necessary that you remain conscientious about ensuring that your records are in order. Unfortunately, unscrupulous people may try to commit fraud by creating a forged deed for your property. If that happens, you could wind up facing a serious ordeal.

How can you know?

Fraud is often a behind-the-scenes type of crime. Many people have their identities stolen, credit cards used or become victims of fraud in other ways without even knowing it until their finances take a major hit or they become aware of some other red flag. As a homeowner, you may want to stay on the lookout for the following red flags that could point to deed fraud:

  • You stop receiving bills for property taxes.
  • You receive documents about a mortgage loan you did not take out.
  • You receive notice of a mortgage-related transaction that you did not complete.
  • Your mortgage loan goes into default even though you have made your monthly payments.

Any of these issues may immediately cause you pause and raise concerns, as they should. You would be wise to contact your mortgage lender as soon as possible to determine whether something is wrong with your account, and if you suspect deed fraud, contacting law enforcement is advisable.

What about your title insurance?

When you bought your home, you hopefully took out title insurance. Luckily, this insurance can help protect you against fraudulent actions involving the deed to your property. Of course, handling this type of ordeal can be complex and frustrating, so it is smart to have legal professionals on your side. An experienced real estate attorney can go over your title insurance information and help you better understand your options for addressing this unfortunate predicament.

Though you may feel anxious and stressed about this ordeal, remember that it is not the end of the world. It may mean you need to file a quiet title lawsuit or take other steps to resolve the problem, but you can work to get the matter under control.