DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk Debra DeBerry said the program, called the Property Fraud Registry Alert System was created to provide property owners with the ability to register properties and receive notices any time something is recorded regarding their property.
DeBerry said the system will help alert home and property owners of any suspicious activity or changes made on documents such as deeds or loans.
“Many times what happens is a fraudulent transfer title of property,” she said “Whoever does the illegal transfer can get loans and the scenario gets increasingly complex the more time goes by. Homeowners may not ever find out this has occurred until they apply for a loan or try to sell their homes.”
DeBerry said elderly property owners are particularly at risk of schemes or fraud.
“We especially encourage senior citizens to check the status of their property regularly and they can do so through this new system,” she said.
In order to receive alerts, property owners should register their properties at web.co.dekalb.ga.us/clerk.
Once registered, participants set up a password protected account to view documents and receive notifications.
Although DeBerry said the system is not an “answer to every problem,” she said she hopes it will serve as a helpful tool and deterrent for future property-related scams.
“This system is certainly a start to stopping fraud but it would be great for property owners to contact local legislators and ask that the laws be changed to require identification for change in a title,” she said. “Property fraud does happen frequently and it is costly as most people’s homes are their most valuable assets.”
For more information, call the clerk’s office at (404) 687-3812.