PATERSON, NJ - Property owners in Passaic County have a new, free line of protection available in the battle against fraud, thanks to a Property Fraud Warning System implemented by the County Clerk's Office. The service sends an email notice to an enrolled property owner when a document associated with that person is recorded and filed. In this way, property owners have another tool at their disposal with regards to protecting their assets.

"According to the FBI, property and mortgage fraud is one of the fastest growing white collar crimes in the U.S.," a statement from the Passaic County Clerk's Office read. "This service can serve as an early alert to property owners of possible fraudulent activity so that they can take the appropriate next steps with law enforcement agencies. Additionally, the system can be used as a monitoring mechanism to keep track of the filing of legitimate documents once you finish with a property closing, taking out or paying off a mortgage."

Passaic County Clerk Danielle Ireland-Imhof said enrolled Passaic County property owners receive a notification, and can then utilize the Property Search feature at records.passaiccountynj.org and find a .PDF file of the recorded document itself. Ireland-Imhof said that doing so only takes a few minutes and can offer "peace of mind".

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"I'm really excited," Ireland-Imhof told TAPinto. "A lot of duties and responsibilities fall under my office as county clerk.  I've gone out in the community, had conversations with different people, and it's under the radar.  One of our main responsibilities, as county clerk, is the recording and maintaining of property records for all property transactions in the county. That's residential and commercial property transactions. When I was preparing and planning my initiatives when I took office, this was high on my list. Since we already record and maintain these documents, it was a no brainer for me: making these documents multi-purpose.  We have these records in our vaults, where it is open to the public to come and make copies.  Now let's make it work even more to serve the people of Passaic County by implementing the Property Fraud Warning System."

The system was inspired by what she saw in other counties around the country.  "The County Clerk or the Register of Deeds and Mortgages--and in most counties in New Jersey it is one person who has both titles--has the responsibility, set by statute, to record and maintain property transaction records," she said.  "I was thinking about ways to enhance the office and better serve the residents of Passaic County."

Residents do not have to wait to get started, the system is up and running.  "We went live yesterday.  We've already had several people sign up and it's been less than 24 hours.  I've had great feedback and lots of people are grateful for the system."

To begin the enrollment process, property owners can log on to www.passaiccountyclerk.org and follow the link for "Property Fraud Warning System."

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