The DeKalb County Register of Deeds, Daniel Seber, is warning the public of a possible scam that is making the rounds around the country. According to Seber, scammers can steal your property without you even knowing it, and possibly costing you thousands of dollars to fight it.
Seber is referring to something known as Deed Theft. Home title theft or Deed Theft is a type of real estate fraud where someone uses a homeowner’s personal information to forge a deed and steal their home. The thief may also apply for a home equity loan or line of credit in the homeowner’s name and then fail to make payments.
Seber said that he is not aware of anyone in DeKalb County that has fell victim to this type of scam, but he wants the public to be aware and take precautions. Seber recommends property owners register on www.mylandalert.com, a free service that will alert if anything is recorded in the Register’s Office under their name in an effort to protect the owner from theft.
“Property-title fraud remains rare, but as property fraud and identity thefts increase, this extra layer of protection can be a valuable tool to protect our citizens,” said Seber. “DeKalb County is a great community, and although we’ve not experienced a large problem locally, we want to be proactive, and solution minded”.
The increased use of technology in real estate services now enables home purchases and other real-estate transactions to be conducted remotely. Parties may sign documents without touching a pen and use notarial services through two-way communications. Documents may be submitted for recording in digital format and not paper. This increased flexibility and accessibility has benefits for consumers but can heighten the risk of fraud.
When a document is recorded under the name provided, users will receive an email alert and can contact the Register’s office at 615-597-4153 should they have concerns. There is no cost to sign up for the program.
“This service can provide peace of mind, and in the unlikely event fraud occurs, it can save citizens hours of time and legal fees,” said Seber.