Rockingham County Register of Deeds working to prevent fraud

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REIDSVILLE, N.C. -- The Register of Deeds in Rockingham County is implementing a new way to protect citizens’ identity and documents.

With a few clicks online, residents can enroll in the Fraud Detection Notification System.

“It monitors our recorded documents on a daily basis and if one of those names that you registered is recorded, it will send you an email to let you know,” explained Rebecca Cipriani, Register of Deeds in Rockingham County.

She was inspired to look into the program after hearing about a couple who went to their Oak Island beach house only to find it gutted with another family living there renovating it.

“Turned out the other family had been sold a fraudulent deed and thought they owned the house.”

Cipriani is not aware of any local examples, but is hoping the new program will prevent future attempts at fraud.

The FBI has listed property and mortgage fraud as one of the fastest growing white-collar crimes.

Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen started offering fraud protection last year.

“The Guilford County Fraud Alert System currently has 885 subscribers.  Customers have appreciated the immediate feedback of knowing when land records are filed in their name. If it’s all done legally and proper, there’s a sense of relief and comfort,” Thigpen told FOX8.

“Unfortunately, we live in a world where fraud can and does occur and we know every second counts. Fraud Alert empowers citizens with the information they need to act quickly to protect themselves and the interests of their family.”

Cipriani said physically protecting older documents and digitizing paperwork that dates back to 1785 will continue being part of her job. But that role is expanding to also protect the people behind the paperwork.

“I really realize what an awesome responsibility this is. And how important these documents are,” she added. “It’s a constant balancing act for our staff to protect the records and allow public access at the same time.”