2 East Texas counties fight property fraud with new service
EAST TEXAS, Texas (KTRE) - Home ownership is a cornerstone to the American dream, but that dream can increasingly become a nightmare. Due to scams and identity theft, homes are being stolen from homeowners without them even knowing about it.
Property fraud can be defined as various scams that involve the illegal transfer of ownership of a property from one person to another. This can be done by stealing someone’s identity and or filing claims on the property to transfer the deed.
Often times this crime flies under the radar, and Nacogdoches and Angelina counties are offering a free service to their residents to notify them if anything is filed against property they own.
Angelina County Clerk Amy Fincher said this service is one the county wanted to offer.
“You will just provide your name or your business name and an email address and it will notify you if any document is filed in the official public records under that name,” Fincher said.
Nacogdoches County also approved this service and they hope to have it up and running by the end of April.
County clerk Sandy Yates said while this crime can be seen more often in bigger cities its also happening locally. She has been in office since January, and has seen two cases already.
In the first instance, a property owner couldn’t find his property listed in the county clerk office records.
“Someone had quick claimed his property, already paid taxes, and now he’s going to have to some kind of recourse to get his property back. Another instance was where someone was trying to steal someone’s identity and because we knew that person, we were able to catch that,” Yates said.
Fincher said Angelina County has had no reported instances of property fraud.
“I have had a few constituents contact me over the last year and asked if it’s a service that I’m thinking about providing. I just felt like it was important to be able to provide this service to the Angelina County citizens,” Fincher said.
Yates said people think property fraud is something that can’t happen to them, but it can. “This is going to be a great service for our property owners I think it will at least flag and say, ‘okay did you do this’, and they can come in and we can get a stop pretty quick before its years,” Yates said.
Visit the Big Red Box on our website to sign up for Angelina County. Nacogdoches County service will be available late April; once it’s posted you can find the link on the county clerk website.
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