Government

Free Tool Can Protect Bucks Countians From ‘House Stealing’


A view of the county administrative offices in Doylestown.
Credit: Tom Sofield/NewtownPANow.com

Bucks County Recorder of Deeds Robin Robinson received a call from Commissioner Diane Ellis Marseglia a few months back. She inquired about a fraud protection subscription service commercial she watched and Robinson’s brain kicked into high gear.

Starting in the new year, the Recorder of Deeds office debuted a fraud alert system to keep Bucks Countians protected from a number of fraud schemes at no cost to them.

The new fraud alert system monitors the 25 categories of documents – including deeds, property transfers, mortgage satisfaction records, and power of attorney – that Robinson’s office handles.

“I, as the Recorder of Deeds, want all residents of Bucks County to be protected from any fraudulent recordings against them,” Robinson said. “While we are happy to report that this has never occurred in Bucks County to our knowledge, we have heard accounts of this happening in neighboring counties. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office. We are here to help.”

The service is powered by Landex, a vendor the county already uses to power its system, and the database is scanned every 15 to 20 minutes, making notifications very timely, First Deputy Recorder of Deeds Gail Humphrey said.

The additional cost to the Recorder of Deeds office is $8,000 to start up and $3,000 a year to monitor all of Bucks County’s more than 600,000 residents, Robinson said.

The service is intended to catch any cases of so-called “house stealing” that have happened in neighboring counties. In those cases, someone has used a forged notarized deed transfer to sell the home out from under the owner. WHYY reported in 2013 that the process is difficult to reverse.

Robinson stated she hopes the new service will help keep homeowners in control.

Residents interested in signing up for the free alert system can do so at this link.

In addition, Robinson warned residents not to fall for the scheme where third-party firms will sell new homeowners copies of their deed for close to $100. The documents can be obtained for just the cost of copies and the pricey ones sold to homeowners by the third-party companies are just printed off the Recorder of Deeds website.


About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for five years for both newspaper and online publications. In 2012, Tom was honored at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards for his coverage of President Obama's visit to Falls Township in 2011. When he's not covering news in the area, Tom enjoys checking out the newest restaurants and bars, exploring forgotten places of industry in the area, going to local parks and spending time with his friends and family. If there's one thing you should know about Tom, he is a local news junkie through and through. Email: tom@newtownpanow.com Phone: 215-431-1001