When it comes to different kinds of scams and fraud, home title fraud is one form that is perhaps not as well known. It’s something many people may not even be aware of, but anyone who has fallen victim to it will tell you that it is certainly something you would not ever want in your life.
Home title theft is a devastating occurrence, and protecting yourself from falling victim to it should be something every property owner should be looking into. It can be tough to know where to even start, but luckily some services can do all the heavy lifting for you.
In this overview, we will be comparing two of the biggest providers of this service: Home Title Lock and Lifelock. In doing so, we will compare the pros and cons of each one and compare what they provide and offer. You will then be able to make an informed decision about which one is the best fit for you.
- Title fraud generally refers to the act of someone forging documents that technically give them ownership of your house or property. They can then sell it for profit or use this ownership for other harmful goals.
- Title insurance will protect you from damages resulting from title fraud and defects.
- Title fraud is luckily fairly uncommon in the United States, but it is still a very real possibility that can be financially devastating.
- You can prevent title fraud with title insurance or by regularly checking your deed information for irregularities.
- Title insurance is highly recommended for any property or homeowners, as it can protect you from a wide range of unsavory circumstances.
- Home Title Lock and Lifelock present two fairly similar services with comparable benefits, but they do have a few differences that could sway an individual to choose one over the other.
- We will cover some frequently asked questions to answer whether you even need title insurance or whether services like Lifelock protect your social security information.
Home Title Fraud: A Breakdown
What is Title Fraud?
Title fraud refers to the act of someone falsifying records to make it look like they own a home or property. They can then use this to take out loans against the property which will then negatively impact the actual owner later on.
This fraud relies on people assuming that this kind of act would be impossible to do without them becoming aware, but it is easier than you may assume. With the right forged documents, the scammer merely needs to forge your signature to complete the fake deeds and then file it with the county clerk.
The clerk is not obligated to contact you as the actual homeowner, and thus the scammer can, for all intents and purposes make it look like they own your home, after which they can take out loans or mortgages.
This article we created on how a stolen identity can impact your ability to buy a house will provide more information on this subject.
What is Title Insurance?
Title insurance is insurance that protects you against this kind of fraud or defect that relates specifically to your deed and house ownership. How much that insurance covers you will depend on the insurer and other specific circumstances.
Home Title Lock does not provide title insurance, as it functions as a monitoring service to look out for any title fraud. They can assist you in the next steps if this fraud does occur, however.
Lifelock does offer insurance and remuneration for damages, but only if you sign up for their more general identification monitoring services. How much that insurance will be will depend on the tier you sign up for.
How Common is Title Fraud?
Title fraud is admittedly fairly uncommon. While it has been appearing more often, it doesn’t happen as frequently as other kinds of fraud as it does require more work on behalf of the scammer. The rewards for a successful scammer can be quite massive, however, and the consequences for the unsuspecting owner will be equally massive.
Even though it may not be that common, it is still a possibility that is well worth protecting against. We have also covered a study that looked at the US states where identity theft and fraud are most common, and reading through that will give you a better idea of how common this fraud is.
How Can You Prevent Title Fraud From Occurring?
Title fraud is best prevented by being constantly vigilant over your deed and other ownership documents. Any discrepancies will tip you off to the fact that someone is up to something. Services like those offered by Home Title Lock and Lifelock will do that for you, constantly monitoring for those discrepancies and alerting you as soon as they occur.
Title fraud often occurs because of more general identity theft, and this kind of theft can affect more than just your property rights and assets. We have created an overview of how common identity theft actually is in order to show you how common it can be.
Services like the ones we cover in this overview can be very helpful in monitoring your various identity documents and profiles, but general vigilance is also highly recommended.
Is Title Insurance and Protection Worth it?
While the possibility of title fraud is relatively low, it’s still there. Title insurance is a classic case of “better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” If you own any kind of property, it will likely be one of your biggest assets, and therefore you would most definitely not want to have a scammer using that for their gain at your expense.
We definitely think title insurance and protection are worth it for any property owners to have that extra peace of mind.
If you would like to check out a deeper dive into this particular subject, we have covered 5 reasons why you should consider identity theft protection.
Home Title Lock vs Lifelock Overview
Home Title Lock and Lifelock are two companies offering largely similar services, but they differ in the specifics of what they offer as well as in their pricing. In this next overview, we will compare both in more specific capacities to show where the strengths and weaknesses of each lie.
Protecting Your Home Title
The primary goal of each service is to protect your home title, but the details of how they do that are where they differ. However, both companies primarily aim to alert you to any potential fraud or unauthorized changes to your deed or ownership.
After that, depending on your membership tier, they will help you to take the next steps to rectify the problem, ensuring you will not be alone in dealing with this issue.
Stay Alert with Activity Notifications
Home title fraud is definitely something you want to catch as early as possible if it does happen. As we mentioned earlier, you can constantly monitor your deed information to prevent it, but that’s just adding an extra thing to keep on top of in your day-to-day life.
Home Title Lock and Lifelock will both monitor this information constantly, and they will each alert you to any discrepancies or suspicious activity. In this feature, we would say that both services are quite comparable.
Dark Web Surveillance
The Dark Web is very difficult to monitor, and it’s very easy to hide one’s identity using the Dark Web. This can have great benefits for everyday people, but it can also prove to be a powerful resource for scammers.
Naturally, the Dark Web could be used by title fraud scammers to make their activities harder to track, so monitoring this front is useful.
When it comes to Home Title Lock and Lifelock, whether they offer Dark Web monitoring can vary. Home Title Lock does not offer this feature in any capacity.
Lifelock on the other hand does offer it, but not with their basic title fraud monitoring. We will go into more detail on this later, but Lifelock offers title fraud monitoring as a standalone service or bundled with their more comprehensive identity theft protection. If you go for one of these more comprehensive bundles, then Dark Web monitoring will be included.
It is not included with their basic title fraud monitoring, however.
Free Credit Report and Monitoring Services
Home Title Lock will provide a free check on your title history to look for any fraud that may have already occurred, but they do not provide a free credit report.
By default, Lifelock does not offer a free report either, but some tiers of their service do offer credit monitoring.
Monitoring Your Address
Both Home Title Lock and Lifelock will monitor information regarding your property and address to check for any irregularities that could result in title fraud.
Monitoring Public Records
Scammers will use your public records to start forging identity documents, and so it’s important to monitor these records. Both services will keep watching for any changes to records and your deed that could be unauthorized, and that can help you to detect and put a stop to the fraud attempt.
Social Media Monitoring for Identity Theft
Home Title Lock does not offer social media monitoring, and neither does Lifelock on their basic title fraud coverage. Lifelock does offer social media monitoring as a part of some of its more comprehensive services. If you were to sign up for the tier that includes home title monitoring, then social media monitoring will be included.
Again, we will cover this in more detail later on in the overview.
ID Restoration Services
Both Home Title Lock and Lifelock will offer services to guide you if you become the victim of title fraud, but neither focuses on ID restoration services. They may be able to help you to deal with that side of things, but they will not facilitate it themselves.
Insurance and ID Theft Reimbursement
Home Title Lock does not offer insurance or ID theft reimbursement on any of their plans. Lifelock will grant you access to an ID restoration specialist even with their standalone tier.
Reimbursement is only offered as a part of their larger ID protection tiers that may include title monitoring.
Two Factor Identification
Two-factor identification is a common feature offered by many services these days for added security. However, it is not included with either service. Lifelock is partnered with Norton Antivirus, so some of their partnership tiers with that service may include this feature.
Home Title Lock vs Lifelock: Pricing
Home Title Lock Tiers
Home Title Lock features three tiers that you can choose from. First, you have their monthly plan. This costs $19.95 per month, and it gives you basic protection.
That means that this tier will provide you with 24/7 title monitoring and access to their title resolution team.
The next tier is the annual plan which costs $199 yearly. This includes the two previously mentioned features and also includes lock-in savings and a free custom analysis of your title, which we mentioned earlier.
Finally, you have the 4-year plan which costs $796. In terms of features, this one is identical to the annual plan but works out to be cheaper in the long run.
Things get a bit more complicated with Lifelock, but we will break it down for you now. As we’ve mentioned before, Lifelock offers home title monitoring as a standalone service or as part of its larger ID protection services.
If you go for just the standalone home title monitoring, you will have access to an ID restoration specialist and 24/7 access to the Lifelock team for support and monitoring on an unlimited number of properties.
This standalone service will cost $9.99 per month.
If you want home title monitoring along with a host of other features that can protect your identity in general, you will need to sign up for their Ultimate Plus membership. You can check out everything this plan includes on this page.
For an individual plan, this Ultimate Plus package costs $19.99 monthly if you choose an annual plan or $23.99 per month if you choose a monthly plan.
Their family plan costs $32.99 per month with their annual plan or $39.99 if you choose to pay monthly.
This can potentially be more of a cost than Home Title Lock, but you are getting a lot of features for this additional pricing.
Both plans do offer auto-renewal regardless of the tier you are a part of. Essentially, once you reach the end of the period you signed up for you will automatically renew for that same period. Therefore, if you plan to be a part of either service indefinitely then signing up for one of the longer periods will save you money in the long run.
It should be noted that the pricing for Lifelock increases slightly upon renewal, so it’s even more recommended to pay annually instead of monthly.
With Home Title Lock, you can cancel your subscription at any time, and they also offer a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Lifelock can similarly offer cancellation at any time, and you can contact their customer service for assistance on a potential refund.
Home Title Lock vs Lifelock: Ease of Use & Setup
Both Home Title Lock and Lifelock are designed to be easy to set up and use. Once you sign up for either service, you will be guided through the setup process. When you have set up your chosen service, you shouldn’t have to monitor or even think about it.
Instead, you will be notified if anything needs your attention. In this regard, it’s a tie between the two services, as both are very user-friendly and don’t require much input from you after setup is completed.
You will also be able to directly contact either service if you need assistance with anything.
Norton Lifelock Pros and Cons
Lifelock’s basic home title monitoring offers decent monitoring services to protect you from home title fraud. Having 24/7 access to their team of specialists and an ID restoration expert are great benefits to have as well.
That being said, the basic protection doesn’t offer much in the way of extras such as social media and dark web monitoring. You can get those benefits among many others as a part of the Ultimate Plus membership, but if you solely care about home title monitoring then that may not be as worthwhile to you.
Their prices do also increase after the renewal period, which is something to consider.
Having extra protection is never a bad thing, however, so we would generally recommend going for the Ultimate Plus membership if you can.
Home Title Lock Pros and Cons
Home Title Lock provides some great advantages. For anything above their monthly plan, you will have access to 24/7 monitoring, Dedicated title resolution agents, lock-in savings, and free custom analysis.
These services are certainly welcomed, and overall their top tiers end up being cheaper than the alternatives. Their prices also don’t increase after renewal, so you know what you’re getting into.
When it comes to the basic services, Home Title Lock and Lifelock are rather comparable. Home Title Lock does lack a lot of advanced features that Lifelock offers with its bundle tiers, however.
If you sign up for the monthly tier, you will also not have access to lock-in savings or the free custom title analysis.
Lifelock vs Home Title Lock: Which is Best for You?
In this overview, we have seen what these two titles offer as well as some of their advantages and disadvantages. The big question is which is right for you?
The answer to that question is complicated and depends on your needs and the coverage you desire. When it comes to the basic tier protection of each service, they are highly comparable and Lifelock works out to be cheaper.
Lifelock is a bit more limited unless you go for their more comprehensive Ultimate Plus membership, however.
If you want basic protection, then either service would serve you well. If you want more comprehensive ID protection, then we think that the Ultimate Plus service from Lifelock is the way to go, even though it will entail a price increase.
Protect Your Home and Identity from Fraud
Home Title Lock and Lifelock are both excellent resources for home title protection. They should ideally be used as supplements to general vigilance, however. You can also pair them with specific insurance related to this kind of fraud.
General identity protection is a great thing to have in this modern age, so if that’s something that you value then the features included with Lifelock’s Ultimate Plus membership will protect your online identity from a wide onslaught of fraud.
Other than that, it never hurts to regularly monitor your records yourself so that you will never be caught off guard. You should keep an eye out for any irregularities with your mortgage payments, bills, and other documents that pertain to property ownership.
Scammers rely on people not being vigilant and letting their guard down, and you can decrease the chances of being caught out if you use these services and are constantly on the lookout for anything suspicious.
Do I Need Owner’s Title Insurance?
Whether you need it will depend on you, but it is highly recommended to have this kind of insurance to protect yourself from title fraud and scams. It is definitely most recommended to pair owner’s title insurance with other kinds of insurance and identity protection services.
The more protection you have, the less susceptible you will be to fraud and other attacks.
What Documents Does a Title Company Need?
The documents you need can vary depending on the circumstances, but you will generally need your basic identification documents along with deeds and other documents pertaining to the property. You can consult your agent or attorney dealing with the matter to see which documents you will need in your particular case.
What to do if Someone is Falsely Using Your Address?
If someone is falsely using your address, there are a few things you can do. The representatives at companies like Home Title Lock and Lifelock will guide you through the process of what to do if your address is being used for fraud, but you can also contact the US Postal Inspection Service to get started.
We have covered some of the steps you can take in the case of identity theft before, so we highly recommend checking out that article for more information on what you can do if someone is using your ID or address information.
Can Someone Buy Your House Without You Knowing?
While unlikely, it is certainly possible for this to happen. As we have seen in this article, this can be done with forged documents that make it look like someone else owns your property. Luckily, you can fight this in court if it does happen, but it can still result in a long and expensive legal battle.
That’s why catching this fraud early is imperative, as you can mitigate the damages that occur. As long as all of your documents are in order and you have the right protection against property fraud, then it should be fairly easy to avoid this outcome.
Can a House be Sold Without a Title Deed?
No, a title deed is required to sell a house. These deeds can be forged under the right circumstances, however, meaning that fraud is possible. If that deed is forged convincingly enough, it is surprisingly easy for a scammer to get away with it, as the county clerk that they will submit to will not have to do extensive checks or even confirm the sale with the actual homeowner.
Can a House be Signed Over to Someone Else?
This is certainly possible, and when done properly will require the permission and consent of everyone involved. Naturally, scammers will bypass that permission when signing their name to a deed illegally.
As we mentioned in the last point, if the documents are forged successfully then it isn’t too hard for them to get away with it.
Does Lifelock Protect Your Social Security Number?
Social security protection is included in all tiers of Lifelock’s identity theft protection services. It is not included in their basic home title protection, however. It’s something to consider, and it’s one of the features that lead us to recommend going for Lifelock’s more comprehensive services instead of sticking with the standard title fraud protections.
How Much Is Lifelock for Seniors?
On the signup page, you will not see an option for seniors, but you can contact Lifelock’s representatives to enquire about available senior discounts where you will be prompted to provide proof of your age along with any other documents they need.
Who Owns Home Title Lock Company?
Home Title Lock is a self-owned company. They came into being over thirty years ago with the aim of compiling a large database of property records in the United States. In their current capacity, they have been providing their services since 2015.
Is Home Title Lock a Waste Of Money?
When it comes to protection, it’s never a bad thing to have. The question is whether the service offered by Home Title Lock is worth the money. As we have mentioned before, the kind of title fraud they protect against is actually fairly rare, even though instances of it are rising by the year.
We would definitely recommend having some sort of home title protection just in case you do fall victim to this kind of fraud. The services offered by the higher tier plans of Lifelock may be better for people who want more comprehensive identity protection, however.
These tiers would cover you from all kinds of ID fraud along with home title fraud. That being said, we do not feel that Home Title Lock is a waste of money if you’re looking for basic protection against home title fraud.
In this article, we set out to compare Home Title Lock to Lifelock, two similar services with a few differences between each one. The basic tiers of each service provide great monitoring for your deed and other documents pertaining to your home and property.
Having this monitoring means you will not need to be constantly vigilant against home title fraud and can provide peace of mind. Especially at their basic levels, it’s hard to say whether one service is better than another.
Lifelock does provide many more benefits than Home Title Lock that pertain to general identification fraud protection, but this will cost extra as you will need to sign on to their higher tiers.
We hope that this overview has helped give you all the information you need to decide which service is right for you if you wish to take the next step towards protecting your valuable property assets.