A lifeline for homeowners in Union County, NJ

Union County residents are reminded to protect their property with the Real Estate Fraud Alert Notification System, a free service that allows people to respond quickly to unauthorized and potentially fraudulent activity involving their property.

“When a deed or a mortgage comes into my office to be recorded, it goes into an internet searchable database because it is a public record,” Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi said. .

The real estate fraud alert notification system notifies residents when there is a name identical or similar to theirs, that a document has been registered.

They can then go to the Union County Clerk’s website to see if there was any activity on their property, Rajoppi.

For example, if someone’s last name is Smith, each variation of Smith will be notified that a person named Smith has saved a document and can be searched.

If someone senses there is suspicious activity going on, they can nip it in the bud, Rajoppi said, filing a complaint with his local police department.

The online system is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Subscribers can register for the system online at www.propertyfraudalert.com or they can contact the Property Fraud Alert call center at 1-800-728-3858.

“Real estate fraud is particularly insidious because older people are often the target, and victims often have no idea that their property rights have been compromised until it’s too late,” Rajoppi said.

Last year, there was a case in Union County of a caregiver trying to register a deed having the property of the person she cared for in the caregiver’s name.

Rajoppi said he caught that one, but not all cases are easily caught.

The fraud alert not only allows the person to register, but also their family members. So if a resident has someone in the family who is older or disabled, that person can register for them and receive the alerts.

Users can choose whether they want to receive alerts by email or phone.

“According to the FBI, real estate or mortgage fraud is one of the fastest growing white-collar crimes in America today. So if there is a way to help people by protecting themselves; we look forward to doing that,” Rajoppi said.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]

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