ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., March 1, 2022 — Don’t pay for a fraud notification service when your property records can be protected for free through the St. Johns County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Office — this is the message of a year-long campaign launched today to encourage residents to subscribe to the Clerk’s free property fraud alerts for St. Johns County property owners.
Clerk of Court and Comptroller Brandon J. Patty presented information about the campaign Tuesday to the Board of County Commissioners, encouraging St. Johns County property owners to take easy steps to protect themselves if someone records a fraudulent deed or lien again their property. The campaign’s goal is to sign up 10,000 residents and businesses for free property fraud notifications this year.
“Property and mortgage fraud is among the nation’s fastest-growing white-collar crimes,” Clerk Patty said. “To combat this, identity protection companies charge monthly or annual fees to monitor your Official Records — for instance, your deed — but you can do it yourself for free. Simply subscribe to receive email alerts when an Official Record document is recorded in your name with the Clerk’s office.”
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 Clerk’s office urges all St. Johns County property owners to register for the free noticing service, which will alert you via email any time an Official Record document is recorded in your name with Clerk’s office.
When receiving an email alert, a subscriber knows to take prompt, appropriate action if the recording activity is determined to be fraudulent.
The alert email will provide a subscriber with an Official Records (OR) book and page number to view the document in public records. The book and page number is the document number on the email alert.
Like commercial alert systems, the noticing service does not prevent the fraudulent action from occurring. It does, however, provide a free early warning system for subscribers so they have a tool to help them become aware of activity that may have otherwise gone undetected.