We’ve all seen and heard the commercials, frantic homeowners who nearly lost their homes to fraudsters. We are told that a single piece of paper in the wrong hands is all it takes, and your house title belongs to scammers. Worse yet, the County Clerk is required to file that form once received, and you will no longer own your home. They say we can save our most valuable assets by paying a monthly fee to the providers of this novel form of “protection.”
Luckily, we can receive the same security free if we prefer. Talk about no-brainers, this one fits the bill. In certain areas, and spreading fast, is a service being offered by County Clerks’ offices, whereby anyone who registers for their service will receive an email directly from the County when any activity is detected on property owned by an individual, a couple, or a business. The Clerk’s office will not automatically file the fraudulent paperwork.
For residents of the tri-county Florida First Coast area, Duval County, St. Johns County, and Clay County, this service is offered to property owners within their boundaries. We have not researched surrounding counties, nor other states, so any readers with property outside these counties can simply search their County Clerks’ websites. If the free service is not offered, don’t automatically sign up for a needless and expensive private version. Instead, request the service, and make a note on your calendar (perhaps on your mortgage due date each month) to access your online records at the County.
For residents of our 3-county area, access to this service is on the following websites:
Duval County, FL https://www2.duvalclerk.com/property-fraud-alert/
St. Johns County, FL https://stjohnsclerk.com/recording-activity/
Clay County, FL https://trieshield.com/Agency?AgencyCode=12019
Given the severity of this uncommon scenario, taking a few minutes to establish protection of your property is a small price to pay, and is the only cost to you. In an ideal world, this would not be needed. With today’s criminal population improving their online skills daily, we all need to stay diligent and take personal responsibility.
While you’re at it, freeze your credit with all 3 reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) on their respective websites. Whenever you want to allow someone to access your credit for an authorized purpose, simply order a temporary “thaw” to your credit freeze.
Van Wie Financial is fee-only. For a reason.