MANILA - The government is digitizing millions of land titles to guard against scam artists who have long taken advantage of manual record keeping, an official said.
Some 11 million land titles are manually-issued, compared to just 3 million that are digital. Under the new system, the original copy will only be in digital form while the owner will be issued a certified true copy in paper form, said Land Registration Authority deputy director Ronald Ortile.
Not only will digital-only copies help guard against fraud since they can't be replicated easily unlike paper titles, it will also make checking of titles easier since the database is electronic, Ortile told ANC's On the Money.
In the past, the release of land titles were held back just because the person in charge of the physical records was out sick, he said.
Ortile shared some tips on how to spot fake titles and guard against scams.
- When dealing with physical titles, prospective buyers should check whether the paper is textured and yellowish with a red border. Titles issued from 1984 should have the feel of paper bills since these are printed by the Bangko Sentral, he said.
- Ortile recommends checking the back side of the title, where "encumberances" or issues are listed. Red flags include notes on an affidavit of claim or notice of adverse claim.
- Buyers should check whether the name on the title is the same as the person selling the property and whether the size and address are correct.
- After the document passes the above tests, Ortile said buyers should inspect the property themselves.
- Another check is to have the title verified by a bank, which has access to the government's digital database of land titles.