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Title fraud is evolving

Technology has helped drive a total transformation of the real estate industry, and made it faster and more accessible for millions of Canadians. It has also helped drive a historic increase in the level of fraud in that same industry. For Daniela DeTommaso, President of FCT, not enough has yet been done to safeguard consumers. That’s something she’s looking to change.

“[At FCT,] we’re starting to rely on very sophisticated fraud detection tools,” she said, in an interview with CBC earlier this year. “It would be great to introduce more stringent identity verification tools, and make them more widely available.”

Her comments come at a time when the real estate industry is seeing the need for ID verification solutions on a national scale. “We’re moving to a more virtual world,” she told CBC. “We’re not living at a time when everyone knows who they’re dealing with, so [professionals have to] rely on identification.”

That same identification is now often fraudsters’ greatest asset, according to her, in an interview with CKNW. “This is the challenge that exists today: [fraudsters] are so sophisticated,” Daniela said. “If you were to look at some of the identification, an untrained person would never be able to tell the difference.”

“We’ve seen fraud over the years,” Daniela told CKNW, “but the nature of the fraud, the size of the fraud, that has definitely changed.”

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) tracks instances of fraud and identity theft annually. According to CAFC, the rate of identity theft has gone up almost 60% since 2017. 1

Those stolen identities are being used more and more often to facilitate title fraud: impersonating the owner of a property to take out a mortgage on it, or even sell it without the owner’s knowledge.

“We’re seeing innocent people on both sides [of transactions] just devastated by something they could never have imagined happening,” Daniela told CBC. Without title insurance, homeowners and homebuyers can find themselves out hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even without a home.

Having insurance in place to protect borrowers and lenders from the consequences of title fraud is essential, but it’s only half the battle. “As a title insurance company, not only are we there to protect you in the event that there is an issue,” Daniela told CKNW, “but our biggest goal is to prevent these things from ever happening.”

Detecting and preventing fraud requires both human and technological safeguards. That’s why FCT educates consumers and professionals about title fraud, and examines deals for red flags. It’s also why digital ID verification is the future of secure, safe real estate transactions.

At a recent FCT event, Daniela spoke about the importance of fast, simple and reliable ID verification. “I am so excited to finally be able to discuss this technology,” she told attendees.

“Fraud is evolving, but so are we. At FCT, we’re invested in our customers, and that means drawing on the best of our people’s expertise, and innovating non-stop, to stay ahead of fraudsters and protect consumers.”

Learn more about how FCT protects you and your clients.


1 CAFC stats via


Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.


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