Mortgage fraud

Protect yourself

Tips on how to avoid and protect yourself against mortgage fraud.

Review documents

Read all documents before you sign them, or have your lawyer review them.

Get an independent representative

  • each party should have their own representatives in a real estate transaction and not use the seller’s representatives
  • have an independent representative registered with RECA as your real estate agent and mortgage broker
  • beware of a real estate broker or mortgage broker who has a financial interest in the transaction
  • if the seller objects, consider it a red flag

Check for Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) qualifications

Make sure you are using a licensed mortgage broker or real estate broker who is registered under the Real Estate Act and enforced by the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA).

Using an authorized real estate professional doesn’t cost a purchaser anything. Usually, all commissions are paid by the seller.

If you have a financial loss due to fraud from breach of trust from the activities of a mortgage or real estate broker authorized by RECA, the assurance fund may compensate you for financial loss.

Losses from unregistered brokers are not covered.

Check with RECA before you make a deal to see if the person is authorized. Call toll-free 1-888-425-2754 or check online at

Report suspicious transactions to RECA

Do your homework

  • consult public real estate websites to review property listings in the community where the property is located
  • compare features, size and locations to establish if the asking price seems reasonable
  • ask your independent representative to provide you with a comparative market analysis of the property

Get the property checked

  • in the offer to purchase, include the option to have the property appraised by a designated or accredited member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada or the Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers
  • ask for a copy of the land title, or go to a registry agent office and ask for a historical title search
  • insist on a home inspection to guard against buying a house that has been cosmetically renovated or used as a marijuana grow-op – grow operators frequently use mortgage fraud to purchase their properties
  • ask to see receipts for recent renovations
  • when you make a deposit, ensure your money is being held in trust

Find a Registry Agent

What’s important to know

RECA has an assurance fund to provide some financial protection for clients of licensed mortgage and real estate brokers. If you suffer financial losses because of fraud or a breach of trust from a mortgage or real estate broker authorized by RECA, the assurance fund may compensate you for your financial loss. Clients of unlicensed fraudsters are not eligible for this protection.

To learn if the person you are dealing with is an authorized individual, check with RECA before you make a deal.


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(toll-free, other areas in Alberta)

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Related services

Mortgage fraud tipsheet (PDF, 4 pages)