Safeguarding Your Property: How Free Alerts Can Protect You from Real Estate Fraud

Recently, the real estate market has seen a concerning rise in fraudulent activities. Homeowners, now more than ever, need to be vigilant to protect their most valuable asset. One effective way to do this is by signing up for free alerts that notify you whenever a document transferring the title of your property is recorded. Below are the types of real estate fraud prevalent today and how these alerts can be your first line of defense.


Types of Real Estate Fraud:

Title Fraud: This occurs when the fraudster uses false documents to pose as the property owner, transfers the property to their name, and then secures as much loan as possible using the property as collateral.

Foreclosure Fraud: Here, scammers target homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments. They offer a loan to cover expenses, tricking owners into transferring the property title.

Home Equity Fraud: In this scenario, fraudsters target properties with significant equity. They forge documents to secure loans against the property, leaving the legitimate owner in debt.

Rental Scams: Scammers pretend to be landlords or real estate agents, posting fake rental listings, collecting deposits, and rent for properties they don’t own.

Online Real Estate Scams: These involve fake real estate listings online. When interested buyers contact the “seller,” they are asked for a deposit or personal information before the property is suddenly removed from the market.


Protecting Yourself with Free Alerts:

Signing up for free alerts from your local registry or land records office is a crucial step in protecting yourself from these types of fraud. Here's how it works:

Immediate Notification: You receive an alert whenever a document affecting the title of your property is recorded.

Early Detection: this early warning system allows you to take prompt action if any fraudulent activity is detected.

Peace of Mind: Knowing that you will be informed of any changes to your property’s title can provide significant peace of mind.

To sign up for free alerts in San Diego County, go to and provide your name, email address and Assessor Parcel Number (APN) which you can find highlighted in yellow on your property tax bill.  You can also use ParcelQuest ( to look up your address and find your APN.  There is no charge for this service and you may unsubscribe at any time. Please keep in mind that this service only applies to documents AFTER your subscriber registration has been activated.

Many other counties in California offer this service as well.  Check your county’s recorder’s office website to see if they offer this service.

Real estate fraud can be devastating, but being proactive can significantly reduce your risk. By signing up for free property alerts, you stay one step ahead of fraudsters. Remember, knowledge is power, and in the case of property fraud, it could be the key to safeguarding your investment.

If you, a friend, or family member need help establishing or restating an estate plan, please reach out to our Intake Department at 760-448-2220 or at We have offices in San Diego (Carlsbad) and Orange Counties (Laguna Niguel), but we can assist families throughout California as well.

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