May 1, 2023 – The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office is alerting property owners to an increase in mortgage and property fraud across the nation. The premise is that a person can file fraudulent deeds, mortgages, or other liens against a property without the owner’s knowledge or consent.
The Clerk’s Recording Department which records deeds and myriad other documents is providing a safeguard mechanism to owners. The property owner will be notified when the exact name on public records is listed as a Grantor or Grantee. This will provide an early warning system that allows the property owner to take action if they believe fraudulent activity has occurred with their property.
“We are being proactive in notifying customers when an act of transferring property ownership is made against their property,” said Clerk Steve Schleiker. “While our office is required by law to record a document when presented, we subsequently reach out to the current owner on record to inform them of the transaction made by another person or entity.”
Once notified, the owner can affirm if the filing is legitimate or if it is a fraudulent attempt by someone to seize ownership or cause other issues with the property.
There are several additional steps you as a property owner can take to prevent deed fraud:
- Check the Clerk and Recorder’s Recording website at www.epcrecords.com at least once a year to verify no deeds or mortgages have been recorded on your property without your consent.
- Verify the El Paso County Assessor’s Office has the correct mailing address for you or the person who should receive notices about your property.
- Contact the El Paso County Assessor’s Office and Treasurer’s Office if you stop receiving your property notifications and tax bills.
- If your property is vacant, check it often to make sure it is not occupied illegally. Ask someone you trust to look after your home if you are going to be away for a long period of time.
- When a family member passes away and someone else inherits the property, make sure you update the deed with the new owner’s name.
- Discuss with your trusted family members before making any decisions that affect ownership of your property, such as adding or removing someone from a deed or taking out a new mortgage, reverse mortgage, or second mortgage. If you feel it prudent, you may want to consult a lawyer.
For more information, corrections, or disputes, please contact the Recording Department at 719-520-6200, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.