DJ 33 1/3

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Property Theft Has Become A Problem In South Florida

Marty Kiar, Broward County’s property appraiser, is warning that scammers have figured out how to forge deed documents and file to take ownership of a home.

Thieves have found a loophole in Florida law, where the records division for the county must accept any document that is filed. County offices are barred from verifying if a person on the deed is the true owner and the document only needs to be notarized and signed by two witnesses.

“They file fake deeds against someone’s property,” Kiar said. “Then they take those deeds and they try to extort, mortgage, sell or rent their property.”

A system was developed to prevent the title theft, by Brian Allen, Broward County’s property appraiser’s director of technology, and his team.

“We just rolled this program out, it is called Owner Alert, just two days ago, and since then 26,000 homeowners so far have signed up for it,” Kiar said, adding that “Once you sign up if there is any title change on your property you will be notified immediately.”

There is a need for the service, as the FBI released bulletins to warn the public about title theft scams, as more than 50 cases of the thefts under investigation are in South Florida.

For more information on the free program, visit this page, email, or call 954-357-5579.

Photos by Getty Images

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