Karen Johnson

NASHVILLE, TN —In an age of rampant fraud, Davidson County Register of Deeds Karen Johnson is taking a proactive approach by offering residents and businesses innovative protection against property and mortgage fraud. The service is provided at no cost. 

“According to the FBI, property and mortgage fraud are among the fastest growing crimes in the nation,” Johnson said. “We are making a service available to homeowners and businesses, where they will be notified immediately if a document is filed in our office that includes their name or the name of their business. 

“That will enable them to recognize and address fraudulent transactions involving their property before they suffer losses. We are pleased to be able to provide this service free of charge.”

To sign up for this fraud alert protection, users simply need to visit www.davidsoncorecords.com or the Register of Deeds website at www.nashville.gov/rod, where they can sign up for the service under “Useful Links.” Users can sign up for alerts on multiple names or businesses. A phone app for signup will also be available.

Those who register will be immediately notified by e-mail if documents are recorded in the Register of Deeds office that match the criteria they have provided.

“Fraud can strike any property owner,” Johnson said, “But some are more vulnerable: senior citizens, immigrants, those facing foreclosure, and those who have multiple properties – second homes, vacation property, or investment property. Also at risk are those who own unoccupied, abandoned, or distressed homes, lots, or businesses. 

“If you have deceased relatives whose property is still in their names, it particularly bears watching. There have been reports of criminals watching the obituaries and acting quickly to forge the name of a deceased person on a deed, then recording the document and securing title. The perpetrators then use the property to secure loans. They default on the loans, and lenders seize the property.

“One thing many people don’t realize is that some Home Owners Associations (HOAs) can place a lien on your home for non-payment of homeowner’s dues, and they can foreclose as quickly as three months after you miss your payment. With the fraud alert, you will know as soon as a lien is filed so that you can take immediate action.

Register Johnson pointed out that users can register multiple names or businesses for the fraud alert.

“The alert is only as effective as the correct spelling of the name that is being monitored. But users can set up multiple alerts to monitor different spellings of their name or business if they are concerned that it might be missed.”

She added: “We  think it is important to offer this service to those who entrust their property documents to us.”