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06Jan

Title Theft

Homeowners are being solicited by mail and TV to buy title theft protection. Do you need it?

Well, first let's look at what "title theft" is and is not. To fraudulently acquire title requires that someone file with the Clark County Recorder a fraudulent ("fake") grant deed purportedly transferring title from you to the thief. But consider that your signature will need to be forged and witnessed by a notary public. A separate document, a Declaration of Value, must also be be signed and recorded with the transfer deed. In addition, a transfer tax must be paid, which can amount to several thousand dollars. The run of the mill crook is unlikely to pay the tax and therefore could not record the fake deed.

However, a more sophisticated thief might be able to fake the notary signature, notary license number and forge your signature and pay the transfer tax. What then? Your remedy is to file an action in the District Court and concurrently file a criminal complaint. It is relatively easy for an attorney to prove the fraudulent transfer. Your house will not be sold out from under you. This is advertising hype to get you to purchase the theft protection service.

What about the "Title Theft Protection" being advertised. Do you need it? How does the protection work?
Generally, these plans are nothing more than your purchase of an annual subscription for a notification service. The data aggregator (the title protection company) subscribes to the Clark County Recorder's database. The purchased data is scanned against the title protection company's subscriber list. If there is a match, you will be sent an email, post card, or similar. You will be notified, but you most likely will still have to retain a lawyer.

No, you don't need to pay for the title protection company's notification service
The Clark County Recorder provides a FREE notification service of any recorded document affecting your title. All you have to do to obtain this free service is to register. You will need your assessor parcel number (APN) which you can find on your property tax bill. The below link will take you the County's registration web site page.

Recording Notification Service (clarkcountynv.gov)

Regards,
Donald Lowrey, Esq.

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