Texas AG opens investigation into Home Title Lock advertisements linked to Rudy Giuliani and other right-wing figures

Authorities in Texas are looking into whether the California-based business that has been endorsed by Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and other right-wing figures has deceived consumers through its advertising and promotional materials by making false claims about its anti-fraud service Home Title Lock.

House Title Lock

House Title Lock and its advertising strategies were the subject of a thorough investigation by ABC News last year, which raised concerns about a number of firm claims, including those on the severity of the crime known as “home title theft.”

Home Title Lock offers to monitor a homeowner’s title “24/7” and assist in preventing title theft, which can occur when a con artist uses false documents to claim ownership of someone else’s home and defraud lenders or even sell the property. A home’s title is essentially its proof of ownership, and for almost $20 per month — or $199 per year — it promises to do so.

Additionally, Home Title Lock promises to assist victims in reclaiming their houses by paying for any necessary legal bills.

Since 2018 and up until recently, a common feature of Home Title Lock’s pitch has been the assertion that “according to the FBI,” title theft is “one of the fastest rising” crimes in the nation.

However, according to the FBI’s report to ABC News, the agency has never classified house title theft in that way. Additionally, the FBI believes that the figures Home Title Lock provides to back up its assertions are not particular to home title theft.

Marketing Materials

House Title Lock has changed some of its marketing materials since ABC News revealed its findings in June. Instead of emphasizing home title theft explicitly, it now states on its website that “real estate fraud” is “one of the fastest rising cybercrimes in America,” according to FBI studies.

However, as ABC News has pointed out, same FBI data demonstrate that over the past several years, the number of Americans who have been victims of “real estate/rental” crime has actually been mostly stable, with 11,562 victims in 2015 and 11,578 in 2021.

A Home Title Lock representative disputed the firm’s assertions at the time, citing a sharp rise in the amount of money real estate scam victims lose annually.

The Texas attorney general’s office announced an inquiry into Home Title Lock, saying it may have “possibly violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act” by deceiving customers with false claims about the frequency of home title theft and the necessity for Home Title Lock’s services.

Other Reports, ‘Crime Wave’

You may have seen or heard advertisements for the anti-fraud program Home Title Lock on talk radio, national television, or social media; these advertisements frequently include right-wing figures like Rudy Giuliani or Newt Gingrich.

The frequent advertisements warn of a scheme known as “home title theft,” in which a con man falsely asserts ownership of another person’s home to defraud lenders or even sell the property.

Giuliani, Gingrich, and other pitchmen assert in a number of advertisements that the FBI considers house title theft to be “one of the fastest-growing” crimes in the country. A Texas rancher who has been “devastated” and a Florida-born grandmother whose “heart-wrenching tragedy of losing her rightfully-owned house is occurring all too often nationwide” are both included in certain marketing materials as “actual victims.”