The Lee Clerk offers property owners a free service to alert them of potential property fraud. Property Fraud Alert emails notifications within 24 hours to subscribers when a deed, mortgage or other land record with their registered name on it has been recorded into the county's Official Records.
Property Fraud Task Force
Addressing citizen concerns about property fraud is a top priority for Clerk Karnes. Since his election in 2022, he has begun laying the groundwork to establish a Property Fraud Task Force to create solutions on the state level. The task force will focus on dramatically reducing property fraud throughout Florida.
- Visit the Property Fraud Alert Registration page.
- Enter your personal or business name and email address.
- To register a Trust, enter the Trust as a business name
- To use a middle initial/name, enter it in the First Name field with a space between first name and middle initial/name.
- Select the Send Confirmation Email button.
- Click the link in the confirmation email to complete the verification process.
You may repeat the registration process as many times as you want for personal or business names or variations of names per email address. You may unregister at any time by following the same registration process, and you will receive an email to complete the alert removal.
If You Receive an Alert
If you receive an email notification from “Lee Clerk Fraud Alert,” a document has been recorded that matches a name you registered. You can view the document to confirm if it potential fraud or another type of record.
- The alert will provide you with a document number, which is the Clerk's File Number or CFN.
- Search the online Official Records to view the file.
If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 239-477-1000. You may also need to contact an attorney to determine whether you need to take legal action to undo the fraudulent recording.
If you dispute a lien that has been recorded against your property, contact the lien filer.
Warning Signs of Deed Fraud
When you receive a notification or become aware of:
- A recorded document on your property where you never signed the document and your signature was forged;
- A recorded document on your property where ownership in your property, or a portion thereof, was transferred or sold to another party without your knowledge;
- A recorded document on your property where the signer of the document was deceased at the time of execution of the document;
- A loan was taken out on your property without your knowledge; and
- Changes or alterations were made to a recorded document after you signed it.
Also, if you:
- Stop receiving your property tax bill or notices;
- Receive a Notice of Default or Notice of Trustee's Sale when you own your home outright (free and clear of a mortgage loan), or when you have a mortgage and you are not delinquent on your loan payments;
- Receive loan documents in the mail for a loan that was obtained without your knowledge; and/or
- Receive real estate documents in the mail for a transaction on your property that was conducted without your knowledge.
What can a criminal do with your home title/deed?
Illegally rent out the property and take regular monthly payments from unsuspecting tenants. They could also put the home up as “rent-to-own” so the tenant believes they’re paying off their home when really the scammer is just taking their money.
- Open a home equity line of credit (HELOC) in the victim’s name. This type of loan fraud enables the thief to take out equity against the victim’s home (and not make loan payments!)
- Sell the home to a legitimate buyer and pocket the profit. This is a common approach for unoccupied vacation homes or rental properties.
- Refinance the mortgage to cash out the equity (known as a reverse mortgage scam). Quite often, this crime leaves the family without a home. Worse still, the bank or mortgage lender will put a lien on the property, which could result in foreclosure.
Lee County and the Lee County Clerk of Court assume no liability for the provision of this free service. Under Florida Law, any email addresses and phone numbers subscribed to this service are public record. If you do not want your information released through a public records request, do not subscribe to this service. Property Fraud Alert notifications are not sent for court-related documents.