Back in 2020, we reported this observation: New and innovative financial scams constantly bombard Americans' identities. The attacks seem to have no end. What next, you might ask? You probably shouldn’t be shocked, but you probably haven’t heard this one yet. The bad news is that it can affect your home, and the good news is that it is preventable. The even better news is that prevention may well be free to the homeowner.
At the time, few of us had even given any thought to a thief stealing the title to our property. To this day, it is so rare that no one we’ve talked to has ever experienced a title theft, nor does anyone know a victim personally. Yet it can (and apparently does) happen, and there are aggressive marketers trying day and night to sell us on a monitoring service to alert us of attacks on our home titles.
Title protection is a monthly subscription service that promises to notify owners of activity regarding the title to their property. Unfortunately, the paid service offers no indemnity to owners in the event of a loss. Some protection, right? Viable options include doing nothing, as the probability of loss is minuscule. However, new opportunities have arisen, and won’t cost you a cent.
How about saving some money by playing the home game? All that is required is an Internet connection and a minimal dose of computer literacy. Property records are all online at your County Clerk’s website. Northeast Florida counties now offer a service to all homeowners. Once an account is opened, the County will alert the homeowner of any activity pertaining to the account owner’s property. Arguably, no government service is actually free, but there is no charge for the monitoring and notification service, so why pay someone else?
Signing up for free monitoring is quick and simple. Using any Internet search engine, find the County Clerk's website for your property’s location. Look for (or search for) property ownership records, and you will be directed to a page where a protection account can be opened. There is no charge for the account, and there is no charge for the service.
Just like that, you will be covered, without incurring a monthly service charge. It doesn’t get any better than that. Fighting inflation by saving money, while actually improving your property protection, and all in five minutes of computer activity. Win, win, win.
Although property title theft remains extremely rare, the problem is real enough to have caused our public servants to implement a cost-free process to prevent theft. That is proof enough for me that a problem actually exists. Everyone should take advantage of free protection, and drive the would-be thieves out of business.
Van Wie Financial is fee-only. For a reason.