Maricopa County launches alert tool to help warn of possible deed fraud

Maricopa County has a new alert system to warn people if someone uses their name on a document.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 4:39 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 1, 2023 at 10:27 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office is launching a new alert system that will notify the user if someone records any document using their name. The move comes after a string of deed fraud cases across the country, including a case in Maricopa County featured in a previous Arizona Family investigation.

In that case, Debi Gotlieb’s father, Jerry, died in 2018, and when she decided to hang on to his Scottsdale home, she noticed someone had impersonated her father and sold the home. “The most heart-wrenching part of my whole story is that we lost everything my dad owned,” Debi Gotlieb said.

Debi Gotlieb had become the latest victim in “deed fraud,” something Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer says is a real threat to property owners. Richer said the problem came across his radar when he took office.

Debi Gotlieb knew something was wrong when she could not find her late father’s home on the county assessor’s webpage.

Now his office is launching an alert system to keep people informed of things recorded in their name. For example, in the case of possible deed fraud, property owners signed up in the system will be notified if someone filed a deed, lien or other legal document using the property owner’s name. “Whenever anything is recorded with that name you’ll automatically receive an email alert at the end of that day,” Richer said.

For Debi Gotlieb, it took a lot of time and money, but she got back her late father’s home. The man who police say stole it is set to be sentenced at the end of the month. Debi Gotlieb says every property owner should sign up for the new alert system to avoid what happened to her. “As fast as they can sign up, they need to sign up,” she said.

The alert service is free and Maricopa County is one of the few counties that now offers the service. State Sen. Wendy Rogers, a Republican from Flagstaff, sponsored a bill requiring every county to create a similar alert system and it was later signed by Governor Katie Hobbs in April.

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