JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — A new real estate scam where scammers steal the title of vacant lots from property owners is sweeping across the country.
A spokesperson for Jefferson Parish says title fraud, specifically title theft, occurs when someone uses a fake identity to transfer ownership of a legitimate property owner’s property title to their name and then uses the fake title to, mortgage the property as security for a fraudulent loan.
As WWLTV’s David Hammer reports, scammers stole the identity of at least seven property owners in New Orleans and used fake documents to try to sell their land out from under them.
Because of this growing scam, Jefferson Parish announced they have launched Jeff Watch, a free online service that notifies property owners of possible fraudulent activity.
“We are happy to launch this new online service for property owners in Jefferson Parish. Our hope is that the alerts will prompt users to quickly identify any possible title theft so they can take immediate action and report the incident as soon as possible,” said Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer.
After property owners sign up for free property-transaction-alerts, they will receive an email alert whenever a document bearing the owner’s personal, or business name is recorded in Jefferson Parish.
The owner can choose to review any such documents via JeffNet, the Clerk of Court’s online Internet service.