How To Detect A Fake Transfer Certificate of Title

Posted on January 1, 2011
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When buying pre-owned real estate property, be sure to double-check the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT). Here are some things that you should check when you’re given a copy of the TCT:

1. On the upper right hand side of the title is the page number.  This number is the page in the registry’s books where the title is located. The last two digits of this page number should match the last two digits of the Transfer Certificate of Title number. For example, if the title shows a page number of 317 and the TCT no. is 14908, it’s a fake!

2. On the upper-left hand of the title, the month and year when the form was revised will be shown. For example, it could say “Judicial Form No. 109 (Revised January 2009)”. After you locate this information, check when the title was entered into the books of the registry. The title could say something like “Entered at City of Muntinlupa Philippines, on the 15th day of March in the year two thousand and five at 11:28 a.m.” Notice the discrepancy? The form was revised in 2009, but the title was entered in 2005! The entry date should come in the same year or after the form was revised. It’s a fake!

3. TCTs are printed using paper produced by the Central Bank of the Philippines. The paper should have fibers at the least. If not, it could be fake.

4. Each TCT must have a serial number located on the upper left hand of the title. Without a serial number, the title is a fake!

5. More recent TCTs have security features including a regular 2-D bar code and a 3-D barcode. If a title was entered in 2010, check for the presence of the bar codes. The 2-D barcode serial number should match the serial number shown on the upper left hand side of the title.

6. And finally, after you’ve verified the above information, go to the registry of deeds that is reflected in the title. Get a certified copy of the title to make sure that it does exist. More importantly, do compare the title you got from the seller and the title you got from the registry of deeds. If they are not a match, the seller might be taking you for a fool.

7. Verify the technical description of the property in the title against the physical location of the real estate property you are buying. Make sure you are really buying the correct property.

8. Check the section on encumbrances of the title you got from the registry of deeds. Ensure that it is indeed free and clear to save yourself from future legal problems.

9. There are more items to verify depending on the title. This includes: checking if the person who signed the title is indeed the signing authority at the time the title was issued; checking if the serial number of the TCT falls under the range of serial numbers assigned to the particular registry of deeds.

Remember, be ever vigilant and reduce your chance of getting duped!

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