How To Not Become A Victim of Scams
With over 900 people moving to Florida a day, we also live in one of the areas most impacted by fraudulent activity!
Staying vigilant against possible swindles remains crucial. Some suggestions to safeguard you and your home:
Tip #1: REGISTER FOR PROPERTY FRAUD ALERTS Take a few moments to protect what is likely your greatest financial asset. For instance, if you are a resident of Palm Beach county, I suggest completing the form located at: https://www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/ser.../property-fraud-alert.
This specific site helps monitor your name and electronic mail address (be sure to include your spouse or anyone else whose name may appear on the deed) in the Clerk of Court’s Official Records system. By registering your email, then whenever a document is recorded in the county that property is maintained, you will receive direct communications alerting you regarding the same. Other counties also provide this service; simply contact that Clerk of Court directly to find out more information.
Tip #2: DON’T OVERPAY FOR A COPY OF YOUR DEED Upon recording a deed, many homeowners then receive a very official-looking notice, which states that by paying $89 (or a similar amount) for their services, you will receive copies of records of your property deed and/or other property records.
Do not be fooled! All of these type of documents can be retrieved and viewed for absolutely NO COST online whatsoever!! Hard-copies are also available from the Clerk of Court in the county you reside for usually only $1 per page!
Tip #3: END THAT TELEPHONE CALL Claiming to be from the Clerk of Court’s office or another Law Enforcement agency, stating that you missed a Jury or Court date, fraudsters may use your telephone number to text or call you.
The person may even use the name of a real Judge or Police Officer, in case you try to verify their identity during an internet search.
The scammer may also use your publicly accessible information to gain your trust and build an image of legitimacy. You might even be put on the defensive and requested to provide more personal information, such as your birthday and/or Social Security number, to establish that you are the intended recipient of the call.
Do NOT provide any personal information over a telephone call ever. Do NOT purchase a money order, pre-paid debit card or a gift card, no matter how pressured you may feel. Most importantly, please do NOT leave your home or place of work to meet the caller at any location, even if suggested to meet at a “safe” location, such as a local Courthouse or Sheriff’s office.
What should you do instead?
If you do become the target of such a call and threatened with a monetary fine or imminent arrest — HANG UP!
Ignore the request and make a written record of as many details as you can about the conversation. Then, contact your County Clerk or local Sheriff’s office immediately!
Tip #4: BEWARE OF “BUILDING INSPECTORS” If you are at home and someone knocks on your door, especially at night, showing what appears to resemble a “county badge,” and requested to see your air conditioning unit’s serial number and/or access to your property, proceed with caution!
It is highly unlikely to be a legitimate county building inspector! Please call 911 immediately and report the issue.
Being Educated, Prudent and Alert will all help prevent you from becoming a victim of Exploitative Predators!
Most importantly, Enjoy Living in Paradise, remembering that even the Garden of Eden had some snakes!
Also, BEFORE Your Troubles Hit the Fan, Please Create Your Estate Plan!!!