FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Protect your property against fraud with FREE alerts
According to the FBI, property and mortgage fraud is the fastest growing white-collar crime. Property fraud is when someone illegally uses your property for financial gain, such as creating a fraudulent document that will deed your home to them, and then they record that document in the county’s Official Records.
The Clerks of Court in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties have teamed up to urge all northeast Florida property owners to register for their FREE property fraud noticing services, which alert a subscriber any time an Official Record document is recorded in their name with their Clerk’s office.
When receiving an electronic alert, a subscriber knows to take prompt, appropriate action — such as contacting law enforcement — if the recording activity is determined to be fraudulent.
As with paid commercial alert systems, the free noticing service does not prevent a fraudulent action from occurring. It does, however, provide an early warning system for subscribers, giving them a tool to become aware of potentially fraudulent activity that may have otherwise gone undetected.
- What is the Property Fraud Alert service?
This free public service is offered by your northeast Florida Clerk of Court’s office to help you detect potentially fraudulent documents recorded in your name in the Clerk’s Official Records. Many Official Records — such as marriage licenses, death certificates, deeds, easements, liens, judgements and mortgage documents — are public records.
- Who can sign up for the free service?
Anyone can sign up for the electronic notification service.
- How can fraud be committed through Official Records, such as deeds?
Fraud can be committed in several ways. One common example: Scammers can create a fraudulent document that will deed your home to them and then record that document in the county’s Official Records filed with the Clerk of Courts.
- What does the free service monitor?
The names you choose to subscribe — business name, maiden name, married name, etc. — are the only criteria being monitored. If you have multiple variations of your names, such as Chris and Christopher, you can subscribe with both. And if you have a common name (Joe Smith, Joseph Smith, William Miller, Bill Miller, etc.), you may get alerts for people who share your name. Thus, you may get multiple alerts since the technology doesn’t distinguish your name from another person with the same name.
- How does the alert work?
Once you complete the signup process, you will receive an email, phone or text alert (depending on the county) if any document recorded with your name is recorded in the county’s Official Records. The alert will contain the document number and type, along with the recorded date and name.
- Does this service alert me of documents being recorded in other counties?
The service only alerts subscribers of documents recorded in the county or counties in which they register.
- Can I sign up for alerts in more than one county?
Yes, our partnership webpages (www.ProtectYourFloridaProperty.com or www.ClerksAgainstFraud.com) allow you to choose the county or counties in which you own property or may own property in the future. You will need to complete the signup form for each county’s records you wish to monitor. Start by clicking on the applicable link on the partnership webpages.
- What documents do I need to gather before signing up for this service?
The only information you need to provide is your first and last name along with your email address. No other information is needed when signing up for the service.
- I received an alert. How can I view the document?
The alert will provide you with a document number. Using this information, you can easily search the Clerk’s Official Records to see if the alert pertains to you or property you own.
- What do I do if I find fraudulent recording activity on my property record?
Contact local law enforcement to investigate any potentially criminal activity, and please also notify your Clerk’s office. You may want to contact a civil litigator to seek damages and to correct the fraudulent record in the county’s Official Records, which could require a court order.