I periodically hear on the radio or see advertisements offering to "prevent home title fraud". For instance, Newt Gingrich endorses a company called Home Title Lock which for "only" $14.99 a month or $149.00 a year will guard you against title fraud, which that company defines as:
When someone steals the title or deed of your home for financial gain. Thieves simply change ownership of your home from YOU to THEM. Then they TAKE OUT LOANS on your home and just disappear - leaving YOU with the payments and a mountain of legal bills."
Well, there is such a thing as title fraud, although if you are a victim of that type of fraud, call me and it should be fixable.
However, at least Stearns County will let you sign up for a similar service for free! Here is a clip from their website:
"Real estate and mortgage fraud are growing crimes in America today. Land Notification alerts help property owners prevent fraud by providing them with information about documents being recorded against their name, business, or property. Each time there is recording activity on a specific property or name, an email is generated, notifying the appropriate person of this activity. This service is a great opportunity for property owners of Stearns County to use. It is a free service that allows you to monitor and protect your most valuable assets.
How It Works....
The Land Notification System gives you the ability to monitor personal or business names on records related to your property. You can create one or more alerts that are triggered when real estate records are recorded with Stearns County for names identified in the alert.
When an alert is generated, an electronic notice will be sent to the email address you provided at the time you registered for the service. This email will contain more information about the activity and will include contact information for Stearns County Recording Services. Once you have registered, the system will perform a search on your name after a real estate document has been verified and recorded by this department. Please understand, when subscribing for this service, common names like "John Smith" may produce many results.
Things to Know....
What do I need to sign up for this free service?
You will need an email account with Google or Yahoo to sign up for Land Notification alerts.
Will I receive unwanted emails?
You will receive an email only when a document with the name you provided is recorded in the official real estate records. You can unsubscribe to the service at any time."