In response to an uptick in property fraud, the Broward County Property Appraiser's Office launched Owner Alert, a system designed to protect property owners from scams.
"It gives property owners notice. If somebody files a deed on their property, tries to change ownership on their property, and it's really a great program that will help protect a lot of people from fraud," said Marty Kiar, Broward County Property Appraiser.
Property owners can register for free and the appraiser's office will notify them if there has been a change of ownership. According to the property appraiser, more than 12,000 property owners have already registered in the county.
"It's my goal as Broward County Property Appraiser to get every single property owner to sign up because this can help protect them," Kiar said.
After more than a decade of owning a vacant lot, Alfred Thomas almost became the victim of title fraud. He learned his property was in the process of being sold by a scammer using a Texas identification.
"They were trying to contract the property, sell it, get the wire transfer account. Take the money and disappear before the actual owner of the property would even know," said Kevin Tacher, CEO of Independence Title.
Tacher believes Owner Alert won't prevent the fraud, but it will help alert property owners sooner rather than them finding out later.
Police say the best thing property owners can do is check the county’s records online once a quarter to make sure all the paperwork is still in their name.
To register for the Broward County Owner Alert service click here.
The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser's Officer currently does not have a similar program, however, they tell NBC 6 they are looking into it.