Tips to Avoid Fraud
Escrow Group Gives Anti-fraud Advice - Governor
Schwarzenegger Declares October 'Escrow Month'
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- (Oct. 5, 2006) In the face of a seemingly
never-ending barrage of wrenching news stories mourning
the fates of would-be homeowners who've been duped by mortgage
fraud - now, more than ever - the importance of working
with a certified escrow practitioner has become glaringly
clear - especially for Californians. According to the FBI,
Southern California has the most reports of mortgage fraud
in the country, topping the closest region in the number
of reported cases by over 35 percent. Since January 1 of
2006, the FBI has received 2,293 reports of suspected fraud
in the Los Angeles area alone, and 4,228 in the Southern
California region. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared
the month of October as "escrow month" in honor of the California
Escrow Association's (www.ceaescrow.org)
efforts to de-mystify the escrow process and, through education,
to help eliminate the state's bourgeoning fraud issue.
Even as the California housing market cools, escrow professionals
continue to fight back against fraud. Leading the fight
is the California Escrow Association (CEA). In a letter
to CEA, Governor Schwarzenegger states, "The efficacy and
education of escrow professionals is one of California's
priorities, seeing as their work directly impacts residents,
real estate industries and financial institutions. Since
your association's inception, you have worked to promote
high standards of ethical professionalism and quality service
among your members. Because of the changing nature of their
industry, escrow professionals rely on your organization
to keep them abreast of the latest technology and legislative
updates that effect consumers. I commend your efforts in
encouraging exemplary services from your members and recognize
the escrow professional's importance to California's economy."
Below are four security tips from the California Escrow
Association (CEA) designed to arm consumers against fraud:
a credit report. Check your credit report yearly and make
sure no false loans are appearing. You have the option
of receiving one free credit report each calendar year.
- Verify that you are listed as the exclusive owner of
your home or land. Call the customer service department
of your title company and they will be able to verify
your status and assist with any problems you may have.
your tax bill. This is one of the easiest things to do.
Your status as the true owner of the home should be verified
on each tax bill you receive.
a habit of shredding any document or mail item - that
includes any of your personal information - before placing
it in your trash. That will deter anyone from sifting
through your trash for information.
SOURCE: California Escrow Association