Real Estate Fraud Alert

High Risk Transactions – Vacant Land Sales

The title industry has experienced an alarming increase in fraud claims, and many are
coming to light in connection with the sale of vacant land. These fraud schemes involve
a party claiming to be the owner of a vacant parcel land which is offered for sale or is
the subject of a cash out refinance transaction. Some fraud schemes may involve
recent conveyances into the fraudster who is now attempting to sell or refinance the
property; other fraud schemes involve the fraudster impersonating the identity of the
true owner. Both variations on the fraud scheme must be guarded against.

Red Flags for Vacant Land Fraud

Agents should be alert to the red flags of fraud and forgery that accompany these

  1. Typically free and clear property;
  2. Vacant residential lots or acreage;
  3. Transactions are often a “Rush,’ with orders coming in late in the day and
    seeking to closing within one or two business days;
  4. Fraudulent identification documents, often using the record taxpayer’s name
    and address of record. These perpetrators have become experts at providing
    identification that passes undetected, so it is vital that additional vetting takes
    place to avoid high dollar losses.