5.3.10 Protect yourself

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

To protect yourself from mortgage frauds, you can take several steps:

  • Guard against identity theft. Don't leave personal documents around, especially if you are renting or showing your home. Most mortgage frauds are based on someone stealing your identity. See the module on Fraud protection for details.
  • Contact your mortgage lender first if you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments. You can also contact independent financial counsellors to help you manage any financial problems.
  • Consult your lawyer before you give another person the right to deal with your personal assets, such as a power of attorney. Cancel this right if you set it up for a short term and don't need it anymore.
  • Consult your provincial or territorial land registry office to ensure that the title of your home is in your name.
  • Check your credit report regularly to make sure the information is accurate. You can get a credit report for free by mailing your request to one of Canada's two credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion.
  • Discuss with your legal representative whether or not you need title insurance to cover losses related to title fraud and legal expenses to restore a title.

If you think you have been a victim of a mortgage fraud:

  • Contact your financial institution. Record whom you spoke to, the date and time you called and when you became aware that you were a victim of fraud. Keep all of the documents that provide evidence of the fraud.
  • Contact your provincial or territorial land registry office as soon as possible. Ask what laws exist in your province or territory to protect you if you are a victim of real estate fraud.
  • Report the situation to your local police and record the police report number.
  • Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
  • Report the fraud to Canada's two credit-reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion.
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