16 Jul Onslow County launches software protecting homeowners
The Onslow County Register of Deeds office announced Monday, July 15, that it has rolled out software called PropertyCheck, which is designed to help protect county residents from the risk of property and mortgage fraud. The county is making PropertyCheck available as a free service.
Onslow County has entered into partnership with Cott Systems, the creator of PropertyCheck, so that the software is free to residents. The goal is providing peace of mind to residents regarding online security as it applies to their properties.
According to the website Get Safe Online, property fraud happens when scammers sell or mortgage properties without the knowledge or permission of the owners. Generally, the first step to this kind of fraud is identity theft. Then a fraudster poses as a homeowner to virtually steal property to make money. PropertyCheck is designed to help you discover any fraudulent activity regarding your property through notifications.
These situations increase vulnerability to property fraud:
- Owners who live overseas
- Unoccupied property
- Owning rental property
- Identity theft
- There is no mortgage on a property
One example of mortgage fraud is in the case of house flipping, which is legal but can be abused. In a case of an illegal form of house flipping, a seller agrees with a flipper to sell a home at a below-market price. Then the flipper gives the end buyer a fraudulent title insurance commitment. This fraudulent document shows the flipper as the property owner, which is not true. Then an appraisal is conducted using the inflated price on which the flipper and end buyer have already agreed.
A representative of Cott Systems told JDNews.com that many states provide online information that tracks recordings on property. However, using this online information requires persistence. Not only that, users must often pay a fee of some kind for access to this information. The beauty of PropertyCheck is that it uses email or text notifications to alert the property owner if a document is recorded that matches the alerts the property owner specified.
Becky Pollard, with the Register of Deeds, told JDNews.com, “While this is not completely fool proof, it is a good step in the right direction to add some security for our citizens.”
CHRISTI HILL TEAM
P: (910) 934-1174
M: (910) 803-4605
F: (866) 289-6147