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Florida’s Property Deed Fraud is a growing issue.

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David Brierton

David Brierton

2 minutes

Florida’s Property Deed Fraud is a growing issue.

The switch to online property records may be contributing to the problem. Although all 67 counties in Florida have some sort of property fraud alert program, more people need to sign up.

Scammers in Florida are selling people’s land and homes without their knowledge.

Authorities are advising property owners to take measures to safeguard their possessions this week.

Due to the thriving real estate market in Florida, there has been a significant increase in property deed fraud.

Over half of real estate professionals, i.e. 54%, faced a situation where scammers stole someone’s identity and title and sold their property without their knowledge. This happened in the second half of 2023. Unfortunately, a similar event occurred to a man in North Florida.

“There was a business card left in the door by a detective from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office,” said John Roney, who was visiting from out of town.

John discovered that his almost three-acre waterfront lot was nearly sold for $40,000. The bank was about to transfer the funds during the closing process when it noticed two errors on the property deed. The first mistake was an incorrect driver’s license number, and the second error was a misspelling of John’s last name.

The Clerk of Court in Clay County has stated that Roney is fortunate that those errors were detected.

Mary Justino, with the Clerk of Court, stated that there have been cases where people have filed fraudulent deeds by making minor changes such as altering the name or modifying information in the address or text of the document by changing just one or two letters.

Clay County’s Clerk of Court recorded 65,000 records in 2023, with 54,000 being done exclusively online.

You can sign up for your local county’s property fraud alert program to receive email and text notifications about any activity on your property.

Only 28,000 out of the 230,000 residents of Clay County have signed up for the early warning system, which does not prevent fraud but helps detect it.

All 67 counties in Florida have a property fraud alert program. Visit the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers website for more information.


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