Want to sell your house? You'll need fingerprints


Cook County, Illinois homeowners looking to sell their homes will need to provide fingerprints starting on June 1st.

Just for selling a house, you'll have to provide a thumbprint from your right hand, and some consumers are complaining that the new law is intrusive. The cost is minimal in the grand scheme of a real estate transaction: $25.

The argument in favor of the policy is the massive amount of mortgage fraud, and efforts to hold people more accountable are worth pursuing. What's puzzling to me is why the law also doesn't require the signatures of buyers who, because they're the ones taking out the loans, are more likely to be involved in fraud.

HousingDoom.com also comments on the uselessness of the law: "Clearly, mortgage fraud has been a big problem, but the fraud I have seen would not have been prevented by providing a fingerprint. Rather, the fraud has involved misstating the value of the property, or misstating the assets and income of the buyer. Why invade the privacy of home sellers with a law that is unlikely to reduce fraud?"

There's definitely a need for more safeguards to prevent mortgage fraud, but this one seems like barking up the wrong tree.