When purchasing property, it is very important to make sure that all documents prepared and signed for the property’s sale are legitimate. If there is but one document that is not legitimate at all, this could prove to be very disastrous for you. This is quite true, especially if you’ve already paid for the property.
Here in the Philippines, there are always reports of real estate investors getting swindled by unscrupulous individuals who are using fake documents to fool people. Despite the laws and the regulations that are being implemented here in the country, there will always be ways for scammers to fool more people into signing fake documents.
The best and only way to prevent yourself or anyone else from becoming a victim is to learn how to distinguish a legitimate document from a fake one. To the untrained eye, this might seem a difficult task, but it is not impossible to spot a fake document from the rest. All it needs is to learn the differences and to ask the right questions towards the owner of the document in question.
So how do you check if a document is legitimate or not? Here are some basic things that you can check:
- Authentic land titles in the Philippines have a texture that is similar to that of a blank check. If the paper texture is quite different from that of a check, then there is a huge chance that it is fake.
- Older documents are usually light yellow in color. This is usually present in older land titles before modern paper was used for the newer documents and certificates.
- Authentic documents coming from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (the government agency where legitimate and original land titles come from) should have a faint watermark with the initials “LRA“.
- Verify if the person holding or handing you the document is the contact person that you are supposed to talk to for getting the document. Government documents should be taken from the person-in-charge. Don’t trust a proxy, unless the proxy was introduced or identified first by the key person whom you were supposed to get the document from.
- Any smudges, alterations, or text/printing errors seen on the document should be verified and corrected at once. Never sign or receive a document with the said errors.
- For land titles, an Original Certificate of Title (OCT) should indicate the words “Judicial Form No. 108-D” on the certificate. If these words are not there or is misspelled, then don’t sign or receive the document.
- Finally, only get government documents from the right government agencies. Never trust a fixer who promises you an easier way to get the document that you need.
When unsure, have the document verified by the issuing office. Always remember to be smart, be vigilant, and always be careful when signing legitimate documents.
Source photo: http://www.pagibigfinancing.com/articles/2012/land-title-how-to-register-and-transfer-it-in-your-name-as-the-real-estate-buyer/