Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - If you're within earshot of advertising in Louisiana, you've likely heard the commercials for a company that will protect your home from being stolen. We aren't talking about the stuff in your home, but your home itself.

The ads are frightening. Who and how would someone steal your house?

According to Lafayette expert Randy Olson, an attorney who specializes in real estate law in Louisiana, the phrase "steal your home" is a little too broad. The short answer is that no one will come to the door of a home you own and kick you out because they "stole it."

Randy Olson
Randall E. Olson, Prime Title (Courtesy)

As Olson with Lafayette' Prime Title explains, the whole mess could cause you serious headaches and grief, and scammers are the culprits.

He explained that, in our age of technology, real estate transactions across parish and state lines is common. However, if a real estate attorney is not savvy about how these scammers pull off their scheme, you could end up in one heck of a pickle.

Here's how it typically works.

Scammers have official-looking documents drawn up that make it look like they own a piece of property they can sell. A buyer falls for it, pays for the property, and never really has ownership. The scammer exits the scene and so does the buyer's money.

On the flip side, a scammer can draw up documentation that states they own your property and that you have sold it to them. It contains all the necessary information to appear like a valid sale: price, witnesses, notary credentials, and transfer of title.


They pull it off by actually filing the sale and/or the deed at a Louisiana courthouse, so it appears legitimate and that the title has been transferred.

Olson says out-of-state owners and raw land without a mortgage are usually their targets, but not always. We all know that Louisiana has plenty of uninhabited, raw land!

Why do they do it?

They can use that phony title that looks like a title as collateral for loans.


The good news is that, if they manage to get a loan or mortgage against the property in Louisiana, the financial issue falls on the lender or the title company. Not you.

That said, clearing it up at the courthouse will be cumbersome. While the issue is fixable, it is not always easy.


Title companies who know about such scams will do their due diligence if faced with a remote sale by hiring their own notary and working with companies they trust to ensure that the rightful owners are buying or selling the property.

To ensure that you are safe from such fraudsters who have Louisiana in their sites, have the title to any property you are buying examined by a real estate attorney. If you are selling your property, same goes. Make sure to have the title checked for any inconsistencies.

The Maryland Attorney General issued a consumer alert earlier this month informing residents that companies that promise to lock your title are not title insurance companies. Like Olson, the AG explains that these fraudulent transfers are void from the time they are filed. Instead, the recommendations are as follows:

  • Pay attention to any missing bills.
  • Keep an eye on your credit through the three major reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
  • Freeze your credit reports to make it more difficult for a scammer to open new accounts in your name.
  • Keep your personal and financial information secure.
  • You can periodically check your title at the courthouse.

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