NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s one of the fastest growing schemes in the country — con artists stealing your home with the stroke of a pen.

Former FBI agent Art Pfizenmayer says it’s called home title fraud.

Home title fraud is when somebody transfers your home’s title to his or her name, sometimes using a false identity, and takes out loans on the property.

“It’s terribly simple. That’s the scary part of it all. Once they forge this document and they file it with the county recorder’s office here in New York County, that house is now in their name,” Pfizenmayer said, “and when they file these documents, there’s a section … that asks where you want the documents mailed, so they’ve changed the mailing address also, so that when they start mailing documents to you from banks or the people that have given out these loans, you’re not getting them, so you’re completely in the dark while your house is being stolen and while your equity is being pilfered.”

In order to prevent home title fraud, homeowners are urged to check in with your mortgage holder and the county recorder’s office. Homeowners can also protect their property with monitoring tools.

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