(KMOV) – According to the FBI, property fraud is the fastest growing white collar crime and it is increasing in St. Charles County at the office of the Recorder of Deeds.
Recorder of Deeds Barbara Hall says in order to prevent property fraud, residents should sign up for free service alerts that notify the property owner when papers are filed with their name on it and for property owners to stop assuming property fraud won’t happen to them.
“People don’t feel that way about their real estate and that’s their largest investment in most cases,” Hall said. “And we are vulnerable. Every one of us. We need to monitor those things.”
Property fraud happens when criminals pick a vacant lot or home that most people have forgotten about. They then forge paper work and file it to transfer the deed of that property then use the forged documents to borrow money. The real owner is then left with burden of paying back the money they never actually borrowed.
The fraud alert is offered in St. Louis, Jefferson, and Franklin Counties.