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Property fraud service available from county recorder’s office

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County Recorder’s Office has a property fraud notification service available online.

Recorder Noralynn Palermo announced the service this week.

“A common property fraud scenario involves a criminal filing a bogus deed, making it appear that the actual owner had transferred ownership of a parcel to someone else,” she said. “The criminal then takes that deed to a bank, fraudulently obtains a mortgage and then disappears with a large amount of money.”

While it can happen to anyone, perpetrators of property fraud often prey upon the elderly, people in long-term care facilities, absentee property owners and owners who spent large parts of the year out of town, she added.

Residents can visit https://pfa.fidlar.com/OHMahoning to register for the monitoring service for free, or call 800-728-3858.

People who register for the service provide an email address or phone number and are notified any time their names are used in any recording activities in the recorder’s office.

“The threat of mortgage fraud and identity theft crimes continue to rise, and all too often victims of these types of fraudulent activities are unaware their homes or identity have been stolen. While Property Fraud Alert does not prevent fraud from happening, it provides an early warning system for property owners to take appropriate actions should they determine possible fraudulent activity has taken place,” Palermo said.

Palermo can be reached at 330-740-2345.

The data provided to Fidlar Technologies, the company that runs the alert service, will not be sold to any individual or company, the website states.

Numerous other counties in Ohio use Fidlar for similar services and other recording activity.

In Portage County, Recorder Lori Calcei implemented the system after someone fraudulently took out a second mortgage on the property owned by an acquaintance of hers.

“When the acquaintance attempted to sell the house, they discovered the second mortgage. At this point, it was too late to do anything about it and they had no choice but to pay off the mortgage before selling the home,” according to a Portage County news release.