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By Joe Taylor, President of Marketplace Title

Title theft and property fraud are often highlighted in dramatic advertisements, urging homeowners to purchase services that supposedly protect them from such scenarios. As a seasoned professional in the real estate industry, I’m here to clarify these threats and offer a free alternative for monitoring your property’s title. This article also includes a direct link for Lee County, Florida residents and advice on finding similar services in other counties.

Understanding Title Theft and Property Fraud Understanding Title Theft and Property Fraud

Title theft occurs when someone forges a deed – a document that can assign ownership of a home – falsely transferring a property into their name. They might then secure a mortgage, take out a home equity line of credit, or sell the property to an unsuspecting buyer.

Debunking Myths Around Title Theft

While this scenario sounds alarming, the reality is that a forged deed is not valid and conveys no actual ownership rights. Only the rightful owner can transfer title to a third party. If a buyer or lender relies on a forged deed without proper due diligence, they will bear the financial loss, not the legitimate property owner.

The Role of Safeguards in Title Theft

The real estate industry employs numerous safeguards such as credit reports, income and tax return verifications, photo identifications, and, crucially, title insurance. These measures are designed to detect any fraudulent transfers before they can cause harm. Title insurance, which is split into owner’s and lender’s types, protects against title defects, including fraud and forgery, safeguarding both the buyer and lender from potential past irregularities.

Is Title Theft Insurance Necessary?

Title theft “insurance” is marketed as a solution that monitors your title 24/7 and alerts you to any fraudulent title transfers. Typically, these plans will alert you when your title is affected and provide “experts” to work with you in resolving any fraudulent occurrences. However, the plans typically do not cover any loss or expenses you incur. Given the strong legal and procedural protections already in place, the actual risk of losing your home to title fraud is minimal to non-existent. The most significant risk to homeowners, if fraud does occur, is the potential legal costs involved in clearing the title.

For Lee County, Florida residents, you can sign up for a free Property Fraud Alert service by visiting the following website address If you live outside Lee County, Florida I recommend checking with your County Property Appraiser to see what similar services they offer, or searching “property fraud prevention” along with your county and state to find similar services available to you.


Although title theft is a popular topic in advertisements, the actual risk to homeowners is incredibly low thanks to numerous industry safeguards. Homeowners are advised to focus on standard protective measures, such as free property fraud alert services, rather than investing in specialized title theft insurance. Staying informed and understanding the real risks provides more effective protection than succumbing to fear-based marketing tactics.