BURLINGTON — It's called the Property Fraud Alert System, designed to alert residents in all 40 Burlington County municipalities of potential identity theft and fraud.

The system allows residents to sign up to have their name or business monitored for transactions and recording activities within the Burlington County clerk's office and receive real-time alerts of activity.

The service is completely free and is intended to act as an early warning system for potential fraud, Burlington County Clerk Joanne Schwartz said.

There's a history across New Jersey and the United States of nefarious actors who are putting illegal liens on people's properties, she said.

The scary part added Schwartz is that most often victims of these types of fraudulent activities are unaware their homes or identity have been stolen until it's too late.

For example, someone decides to sell their home and realizes there are three illegal liens against their property. Schwartz said this service can provide peace of mind to residents who may be too busy to regularly check their property records for fraudulent activity.

"We know that there is a rise of certain groups in the state who are bad actors who do not recognize law enforcement and then they decide they want to take vengeance against a particular judge, police officer, or just a neighbor they're mad at for whatever reason. But more importantly, we see it more against people who are in positions of authority by people who are mad at a judgment that may have been handed down against them," Schwartz said.

The Property Fraud Alert System is now live and residents can sign up online at https://www.propertyfraudalert.com/phoenix/PFASignUp.WebSite. Residents can also register by calling 1-800-728-3858.

Schwartz said it takes two minutes to do and the only information that is required is a resident's name and email or phone number to receive alerts.

Those who sign up will be notified whenever a document, such as a deed, lien, or mortgage is recorded in the clerk's office with their name. It's then up to the resident to contact law enforcement and take whatever legal action to correct the action if he or she did not record such document.

Subscribers can contact the clerk's office at https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/192/County-Clerk to verify the transaction or dispute it.

Schwartz said so far 240 residents have registered for the property fraud alert system. Last year, more than 90,000 records were processed through the clerk's office.

"It's important to provide the best possible services to all the residents of Burlington County and this is just another add-on to help them. We see our role as being advocates for the people who live in Burlington County and protect their rights," Schwartz said.

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