What is the best way to prevent title scams?

Q: Recently, the focus has been on title theft and home loss. What is the best way to check the status of a title and prevent the property from being stolen? — James

A: Real estate ownership fraud is serious, but fortunately it’s a rare event.

In a typical real estate transaction, the certificate is signed, notarized and recorded in the official county record.


Title companies or lawyers usually do this, but anyone who knows how to meet the requirements can register the document on public records.

In addition to modern convenience, technology makes it easy for scammers to create fake certificates, making it look like you have transferred your home to a new owner. This fake new owner usually waits a few months before trying to sell the property or take out a mortgage.

Unoccupied houses and villas are at greater risk than homes where people live full-time.


Fraudsters are known to monitor death certificates and target properties whose relatives live in another state.


The best defense against title scams is to be careful. Read more


How Wall Street is Committing the Perfect Crime

by Neil Garfield

Back in 2006 on TV, I said something like this: “Given the size and scope of this illegal enterprise, there probably are not enough available assets in the world to purchase and hide from public scrutiny. The banks will inevitably expand into fields in which they have no interest, just like lending. The only way they can hide their illicit gains is by laundering them through the purchase, sale, and trading of assets, some of which will be just as fictitious as the alleged loans they are allegedly creating.”

At that point, I had just learned of the investment by Goldman Sachs in precious metals distribution centers. It’s like the “free trade zones” where multiple transactions, options, and other hedge products are traded every day without any reported record of the transaction. No income reported, no tax reported as owed, and the ability of the government to pay for basic services is diminished every day by the declining revenue from these companies. The burden of paying for these services is hidden through “privatization” in which the focus shifts from the service to making money by pretending to provide the service.

The acts passed in 1998-1999 essentially privatized enforcement of consumer rights that were clearly enunciated in the statute. It shifted the public law enforcement service to private citizens injured by illegal behavior — a burden which few victims could afford to defend with their time, money, and energy. It was close to the perfect crime — so far.

As long as people vote for slogan candidates that accept money and even rely upon money from Wall Street (and the rest of the status quo alliance) nothing will change. There is plenty of public money that could be spent on basic and more advanced services sponsored or conducted by the government — but the rule is that the richer you are the more easily you can afford professionals who will legally assist you in avoiding tax liability and probably illegally assist you in evading such liabilities.

Hidden beneath the rubble is the incontestable fact that the ordinary citizen pays far more in taxes than any of his or her more financially successful counterparts — as a percentage of income (including “private taxes”). Let me remind you that the tax system was established and approved as a progressive tax system in which increases taxes on those ablest to afford to pay (because of the opportunities that society granted to them through licenses and other perks).


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