SACRAMENTO, Calif.–The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) issued a Consumer Alert last week about the growing number of scams that involve forged or fraudulent property deeds and what consumers can do to protect themselves against such fraud. The DRE is a state department whose mission is to protect the public interests in real estate matters.
"In the current economic climate, criminal fraud related to real property deeds is on the rise and homeowners should be on the lookout for red flags to ensure the title to their property is protected," stated Barbara Bigby, Acting Real Estate Commissioner.
The department issued the alert to educate the public about the document recordation process, highlight some of the different types of deed scams which are being perpetrated against property owners, and to provide a checklist of warning signs that suggest or signify fraud. The Alert also informs victims of actions they can take, including what steps are necessary to rectify "clouded" ownership records.
The warning signs of deed fraud include:
The key to stopping these kinds of scams is to immediately act on any suspicious activity. Initial steps a homeowner should take immediately include:
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