News for Public Officials and the People They Serve

County Officials Take Protective Stance Against Property Fraud

Officials in Cass County, Minnesota recently implemented a new program that alerts residents when a document has been filed against their property, thus, avoiding many fraud schemes.

Larry Wolfe, the chief-financial-officer for the county, thinks that this step is a great move for the county. Because county recorders are not required to verify the legitimacy of signatures on documents, fraud cases often pop up when falsified forms are filed in their offices. He believes this will hinder this activity.

According to Wolfe, several years ago, an individual who lived in another county but owned property in Cass County came into the county office after finding out a portion of his land had been illegally subdivided and homes had been built on part of the property. Wolfe believes the type of notification service the county has established could have prevented this.

Once a property owner signs up for the free notification service, they will receive an alert from the county recorder's office whenever a document is filed against that property. Katie Norby, the county recorder, signed a contract with Fidlar Technologies to use its Property Fraud Alert for this very reason.

According to an article in The Brainerd Daily Dispatch, for $1,000 annually, the county can use the program. This means that each resident of the county will pay roughly 4 cents for the service.

The program is simple to use the program. Interested parties need only sign up via the county's Website,, by clicking on the "Property Fraud Alert" button. They then provide their first and last name and specify whether they wish to receive alerts by e-mail or telephone message. If a party does not have Internet service, they can call the county and a county employee will set up the alert on the individual's behalf.

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