A fraud alert service is now available to county residents, which could save property owners the potential nightmare of real estate fraud.

Cleveland County Court Clerk Tammy Belinson said the 2020 FBI Internet Crime Report listed real estate fraud among the top crimes by number of victims, totaling more than $ 213 million in losses. the report reveals that real estate crime ranks 7th among the 10 most frequent crimes reported by victims and that it has increased since 2018, from 11,300 victims that year to 13,638 in 2020.

The number of such fraudulent claims in Cleveland County was not readily available on Wednesday.

Using the ministry’s money, Belinson purchased Tyler Technologies’ fraud protection program for $ 13,000. The service is free to the public.

The crooks show up at the courthouse and file a fraudulent act as if the owner has sold the property, Belinson said. The impostor forges a deed of transfer and registers it with the county in the thief’s name.

Once the file is officially filed with the clerk’s office, they can then take out loans on the property with clear title, she said.

“The service notifies residents when new documents are registered using their personal assets or property information,” Belinson explained.

Alerts are emailed to the owner with a link to the documents filed for immediate review. Landowners can register for the service on the county’s website and enter the legal description of the land.

Belison said he has heard horror stories from employees in other states, where owners learn too late that a fraudster had filed a deed months earlier.

“They have to go to court to get their house back,” she said. “Crazy things happened like people were going on vacation for two weeks and coming back to find people living in their homes.”

Although Belinson said she was not aware of any confirmed real estate fraud against landowners in the county, she said some called, fearing she was a victim. They are referred to the Oklahoma attorney general’s office, she said.

The fraud protection program “is good business for the county and free for citizens,” Belinson said.

In the coming weeks, Belinson said she will distribute brochures to realtors and title companies to help property buyers be aware of real estate fraud and hopefully sign up for program alerts. .

In the brochure, Belinson urges homeowners to check credit reports often, watch for the absence of a regular bill in the mail, and regularly review documents for possible changes to property information on file with the clerk’s office.

Mindy Wood covers Town Hall news and notable court cases for The Transcript. Contact her at [email protected] or 405-416-4420.