Deed Theft Scam? Some Counties Offer Text Alerts


If a Broward County homeowner signs up for “Owner Alert,” they’ll receive a text message any time a deed is filed on their property claiming ownership.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With no time to spare, Broward homeowners who want instant alerts of any change in their property status to guard against fraud can now sign up for text messages.

The Broward County Property Appraiser’s initiative called “Owner Alert” debuted in 2021 to notify a property owner by email or regular mail if a deed is filed on their property changing ownership. The idea was to crack down on deed fraud, a growing problem in Broward County, where scammers have filed fake deeds to steal entire houses.

Currently, 195,000 property owners have signed up for Owner Alert system. To upgrade for free to include text messages in Broward County, property owners must visit to re-enroll for the new service.

Marty Kiar, Broward’s property appraiser, said it was time for the enhancement to include text messages.

“Although an email notification is quick, residents still need to open their email to see it,” he said. “A text message will be sent directly to the phone number provided and alert a property owner in real time so that they can quickly act to protect their property. “It has been a priority of mine to help our residents protect themselves from people who try to steal their property through deed fraud,” he said.

The faster a property owner is notified of a deed change, the quicker they can protect themselves from a criminal trying to steal their property and cloud their title, Kiar said.

“A text notification is generally the fastest form of communication as people have their cellphones on and receive text messages in real time,” he said.

In Palm Beach County, the free Property Fraud Alert program also notifies people by email or phone when a document such as a deed or mortgage is recorded with the Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller’s office using their name or business’s name.

The alerts are for all changes, including legitimate ones, such as when a mortgage and deed are recorded.

Sign up is at or call 800-728-3858 or 561-355-2991. The Property Fraud Alert program launched in 2015.

As of December, nearly 40,000 Palm Beach users have registered for that county’s service since 2015, and more than 300,000 alerts have gone out.

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