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Illinois County Offers ID Theft / Public Records Monitoring Service


Jarrod A. Clabaugh - Source of Title

Reprinted with permission


The McHenry County Recorder's office recently entered into a contract with Fidlar Technologies that will allow the county's residents to receive an alert when their personal information is viewed in the Public Records database. For an annual fee of $12.99, county residents will receive either a text message, an e-mail message or a telephone call letting them know that someone has viewed their private information.

The program was implemented as a way to guard the county's constituents from identity theft and mortgage fraud. Because county records often contain Social Security numbers, identity thieves and other criminals often use these records to commit crimes. As more and more counties place their records in online databases, many industry insiders believe that identity theft will only grow. McHenry County is currently redacting all of the Social Security numbers from its records and has completed those dating back to 1958. The county intends to have all personal information redacted from the records dating back to 1839 within the next five years.

"This is a brand new thing," said Phyllis Walters, the recorder for the county, about the alert system in an interview with The Courier News. "If we can keep one person from having problems, it is worth it."

Although the staff cannot under Illinois law remove any information from the public record, it can redact information that appears in the online databases. The original documents without any changes are maintained in Walters' office. Citing the havoc wreaked on identity theft victims, Walters expressed delight with the new fraud alert system. County residents can visit a Website to sign up for the annual service or call an 800 number to enroll in the program.



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