St. Charles County officials see increase in property fraud

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 19 at 6:45 AM

 (KMOV) -- Property fraud in St. Charles County is on the rise and many residents are leaving themselves vulnerable.

Any time there is a transaction involving one of the 157,000 pieces of property in St. Charles County; it’s recorded at the county government building. One of the growing problems, officials are dealing with is property fraud.

Recorder of Deeds, Barbara Hall said a person recorded a phony document with her office, making it look like they own your home or property.

“We can't prevent property fraud because we can't determine the legality of a document...if it meets recording standards and recording requirements by state statute we have to put it on record,” Hall said.

Now it is easier than ever to come up with an authentic-looking document with the online capabilities.

Those documents could falsely claim they own property, get it notarized and filed then borrow money against it.

Hall said the country has a fraud alert program that will notify residents if there’s any transaction with their property but while it’s been in place for nearly four years, only 1,200 property owners have signed up.

"You can sign up your name, wife's name, mother's name, whatever name you want to monitor,” she said.

Property owners will be contacted by phone or email anytime there is a transaction involving their property.

St. Louis, Franklin and Jefferson Counties all take part in the program.

Click here to sign up. 

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