Using Real Estate Technology to Fight Fraud

Apple iPad and iPhoneTechnology is changing the way we buy and sell houses, but Lisa Brown in Oakland County, Michigan is taking real estate technology to the next level in an attempt to save would be victims from predatory fraudsters.

Across the country, there is a systemic problem with two types of real estate fraud that take place at the county offices. First, a fraudster fills out a deed transfer form as if a home were being sold. The form is filled out and notarized, unbeknownst to the true owner, and the county processes the transfer. This is effectively selling the home without the owner’s permission.

Real Estate Technology: Title and Deed Transfer Fraud

Once the deed is filed under a new name, that person can go open up a hefty mortgage loan on the property, take the proceeds, and disappear never to been seen again in relation to the property or the loan.

Alternately, the fraudsters can use the new deed to file a lien on the home against the property without the true owner’s knowledge, get a default judgement in court, and walk away with clear property deed.

Lisa Brown, the register of deeds in Oakland county, is tired of seeing innocent victims lose their homes, or in the best case a whole heap of lawyer fees, from this type of fraud. She is taking action, using real estate technology to transform deed transfer reporting.

Real Estate Technology: A Solution Appears

The county is home to an existing “SuperIndex” database where users can search by name or property address, but that system only gives information on existing filings and transactions.

To take her county database a step further, Brown enlisted Xerox Corporation to create a new system, Property Records Notification. Property Records Notification allows users to sign up for alerts when any action takes place concerning a specific property. When something transpires, an email is automatically sent alerting to the activity.

Real Estate Technology: Protecting Homeowners

As a homeowner, you can input your own address into the Property Records Notification system and receive an alert any time a deed is filed or updated on the property. That will allow owners to get ahead of fraud and stop it in its tracks, far before a foreclosure notice arrives.

The system was built to work nationwide, but so far only six counties in Michigan, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are participating. Contact your county to urge them to join onboard as well.

In the meantime, homeowners in participating counties should sign up for this valuable service. It could save you thousands of dollars down the road.

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