Title Theft

Your Vital Documents Are Online

In today’s time, so many of our trusted government offices have put our information online. This was happening before Covid hit us.

By Grammy Pam / @Grammypam64Gill
In today’s time, so many of our trusted government offices have put our information online. This was happening before covid hit us. It started in 1990 in NC, when the state government started putting court records and real estate records online.
Several factors were in play. Storage of old files and records was the number one reason why the digital push happened.

Attorneys and other state offices wanted an easier option to obtain information than spending hours traveling to and from other offices. This filtered down stream to other related industries such as real estate firms, survey/engineering firms, and people wanting to search tax records. 

Because of this conversion of records online, there has popped up a developing industry of using online records to manipulate titles on real estate. 

By finding properties that are owned by individuals, scammers can download a Deed, recreate said Deed and transfer the property to another name or company. When this happens, the new “owner” can then sell or mortgage the property. 

Usually with a real estate sale, there will be a Deed and if a loan is needed for the purchase, a Mortgage Deed or Deed of Trust, depending on your state. These items are recorded in order, within minutes. It may take days, weeks or even a month for the information to reach the tax department. Usually this is when the first indication of a title theft has happened. 

With the new documents recorded, the “new loans” will be effective. It will take 3-4 months of no payments for a mortgage foreclosure department to begin the process. Notice will be served on the property with posting of the foreclosure documents by the local sheriff or court service. This may be your first encounter of the theft of your property. 

If you are interested in checking your home title but don’t know where to start, I’m going to help you. 

It is an easy task if you understand the process. I will show you an example using my home county of Moore. 

After reading this guide and you still have questions, please let me know. 

Start by knowing your recording office. In NC our titles are recorded by county. The Register of Deeds is in charge of all titles, mortgages, birth and death records. In your reporting county (?), this office may have a different name. Some states use the Clerk of Court as the official recorder of all info. 

This is the website for Moore County

Here is where we will choose Real Estate.

And then we will choose Grantor. The Grantor is the seller in a real estate transaction.

Now enter the last name, first name of the owner of the property and click search.

Here we see the last few years of transactions by the Grantor. The instrument we are looking for is a Deed. We see a Deed here where Robert Blandford has conveyed a property. We can see the name of the Grantee, which in this case is Robert Blandford and two others. I know this person and the other Grantors are his daughters. Click view and we will see the Deed.

At this point we can see each page of the Deed. If we click page 3 of 3, we will see the signature and notary information.

At this point you can see if the signature matches and the Notary that certified the signature. 

If this was your Deed, as a Grantor, you should see your signature. If a Deed has been fraudulently created and filed, you will need a copy of this for your attorney. 

In states that use title companies instead of attorneys to close property transactions, you could contact that company, which should be shown on the top of the first page of the Deed. I would suggest you contact your personal attorney and let their office contact the title company. The title company will not represent you in this transaction. Your personal attorney is the only outlet you will have to fight this. 

If you are not confident in this process, contact me and I will find your recorder’s office and set up a link for you to use. 

I check my property weekly. This takes me a few minutes to do even with links. By contacting a title company or an outside company who will protect your title, they will only help you if your

property has not been stolen. I’m not sure of the monthly cost to do this but it is a simple thing for you to do to protect yourself and your property.


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