Eau Claire County offers new property fraud alert system

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Property owners can now access a new service in Eau Claire County to help them detect fraud early on.

This free notification system will alert property owners every time their name is recorded on a land record document in the register of deeds office, with a goal to catch fraudulent activity immediately.

Whether you own a house, business or other property you can be a victim of property fraud. "You don't want somebody else borrowing money on your property and that would be coming in under a mortgage where they would receive the money and the property owner is liable for making payments,” said Kathryn Christenson, the register of deeds.

But to catch this sort of activity before it’s too late, Eau Claire County is offering a free notification service. "I'm really happy the authorities are willing to take the steps necessary to alert us so that we have less work to do down the road to alleviate any hassle if it does happen to us,” said Kristen Berger, a homeowner.

A stop into the register of deeds office or a few clicks online will sign you up. "All they're doing is entering the name that they want listed and an email address or if they would rather be notified by phone, they can add that instead,” Christenson said.

You will then receive an alert every time your name appears on a land record in the county. "It could be a deed where they are selling property or they are buying property, it could be a mortgage where they're borrowing money,” Christenson said.

The records aren't kept in the books anymore; instead they're scanned into the computer, where it will pull the name of the property owner and notify them shortly after. "If somebody has forged their name and signature and they know that they haven't sold their house or taken out a mortgage, they're going to be alerted by that,” Christenson said.

Although it won't protect you from fraud it can save a major headache down the road. "I'm never going to be looking to see if it's happening to me so I would gladly accept that help or that service,” Berger said.

Anyone that owns property can add their name to the list for free by either stopping in the Register of Deeds office or signing up online.

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