It is quite important to avoid fake land titles if you truly want to own what you’re buying. A land title proves you are indeed the owner of the property you just bought. It also signifies you have the full control and executive right to the house.
However, scammers continue to produce fake land titles in a bid to con property buyers out of money. One of the most common tricks is someone posing as a real estate agent. They will ask for money to purchase the property and then handover a document many to believe to be a land title.
That document is actually reproduction and holds no value or legal rights. In most cases, the person posing as the agent disappears and the real owner of the property will return asking for rent or other fees associated with the home.
The government is digitizing millions of land titles to help combat this, but the process remains slow. Government officials told ABS-CBN that some 11 million land titles are manually-issued while only three million are digital. These numbers will shift in the coming years, but the process is expected to take time.
If you plan on buying a property in the near future, here is how you can avoid fake land titles.
3 ways to avoid fake land titles
1) Check the paper
The easiest way to avoid fake land titles is to check the paper used. Land titles do not use ordinary paper. It has a texture similar to a bank check. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is the only entity allowed to print land titles. They use a special paper made out of 50/50 cotton-chemical wood blend. If the land title is older, it should be a light shade of yellow.
2) Work with a trusted agent
Working with a trusted property agent can ensure you avoid fake land titles. You can ask them to see a valid ID of the person selling the home to check if it matches the name on the land title. Also, scope out how the agent is behaving. Untrustworthy property agents are pushy and ask for money quickly. They may also demand you accept a land title from a proxy. You should NEVER do this.
When searching for a home on Dot Property Philippines, you can see if someone is a verified seller. This can offer added peace of mind you are working with a respectable seller.
3) Look for authentic marks
An Original Certificate of Land Title (OCT) will have “Judicial Form No. 108-D” printed on it. Absence or corrections to this text means it is fake or has been altered. Additionally, you should also look for a faint watermark with the initials “LRA” on the title.