First Canadian Title (Services de Titres FCT)

First Canadian Title (Services de Titres FCT)

September 21, 2005 12:55 ET


Peel Region accounted for 15 per cent of fraud cases in 2004 Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, News Editor OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 21, 2005) - Criminals have found a new application for identity theft - real estate title fraud - and the Greater Toronto Area is at the centre of this growing criminal activity, according to industry experts who revealed the face of title fraud at a real estate fraud summit last night. In fact, it was disclosed that Peel Region alone accounted for 15 per cent of all real estate fraud cases in Canada last year.

"We have gone inside the issue of real estate title fraud and taken it apart," said Susan Leslie, VP Claims and Underwriting, First Canadian Title. "It is a devastating crime - one that attacks individuals literally where they live. Unlike credit card fraud, we see individual cases involving many hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Leslie also added: "Nine times out of ten, we see fraud cases arising out of private purchase and sale agreements."

A number of recommendations aimed at preventing such crimes were discussed by industry players in attendance:

- More attention and resources on this issue by all parties
- Mechanisms for information sharing
- Additional training for mortgage lenders
- Better technology in the hands of real estate lawyers
- New standards such as a required appraisal of the property with all parties present

"In 2000, real estate title fraud accounted for 6 per cent of total claims," said Leslie. "This number grew to 14 per cent in 2002 and 36 per cent last year. Real estate fraud now represents our single largest claims category. We have been forced to understand the warning signs and are working hard to do our part in educating the industry of the dangers."

Some of the common indicators that serve as warning signs for potentially fraudulent activity during a purchase or refinance transaction include:

- The transaction is completed without a face-to-face meeting with the client
- Recent activity on the title to the property (e.g. registration of a transfer or mortgage discharge)
- The client(s) will only provide a cellular number for contact purposes
- Inquiries and established credit are inconsistent with age, income or profession
- Direction to pay the funds to an unrelated 3rd party individual
- A counter cheque is presented for deposit or identification versus a personalized cheque
- The employment information provided cannot be verified

David Doze 416-462-0199 ext. 25

Alison Bagley 416-462-0199 ext. 24

Contact Information

  • Alison Bagley
    Primary Phone: 416-462-0199 ext. 24
    Secondary Phone: 416-949-4552