Local homeowners once again have received mailings falsely claiming that the deed to their property has been transferred and recorded, and that to obtain a copy, they must send a payment to a fraudulent address, according to Nashville Davidson County Register of Deeds Karen Johnson.
“We, along with the Trustee’s office, have had a number of calls from concerned homeowners who got false information about the deed to their property being transferred,” Johnson said. “We had one gentleman who had the good sense to come into our office to ask what the mailing meant and did he have to pay the $89 ‘service fee’ that was mentioned.
“These mailings alarm property owners, even causing some to worry that they might have lost their homes because the letter says their deed has been transferred.”
Johnson stressed that the Nashville Davidson County Register of Deeds Office, where all property documents in Metro Nashville are recorded, never sends out any such mailing informing owners that the deed to their property has been transferred. “Nor,” she said, “do we ever mail out or email any request for payment of any kind.”
The mailing in question says a copy of the deed can be obtained if $89 (by check or money order, or by providing credit card information) is sent to a St. Petersburg, Fla. address. It carries an official-looking ‘Clerk’s Property Office’ logo that is bogus.
Property and mortgage fraud are among the fastest growing crimes in the United States, according to law enforcement. But local homeowners can protect themselves and their property by signing up for the Nashville Davidson County Property Alert Program.
“We strongly encourage all property owners in Nashville/Davidson County to sign up for our Property Alert,” Register Johnson said. “This is the best way to know quickly and officially if any action has been taken on your property.”
There are several ways to sign up for the free Property Alert: on the Nashville/Davidson County ROD app (available at no charge at the App Store or on Google Play) or on the website, <Nashville.gov/ROD>, at a link listed under Services.
Users can sign up to monitor as many names as they wish, and when they receive an alert that something has been filed under any of those names, they can call the Register of Deeds Office through the app or at 615-862-6790 to speak with a real person or email <email@example.com>. Then, users can quickly take steps to avoid damage.