Councilman Pushes Bill to Clamp Down On Property Theft
by KYW's Mike Dunn
A Philadelphia City Councilman is pushing a bill that he says could clamp down on property identity theft, a scam in which unsuspecting homeowners discover someone else has sold their home out from under them.
City Councilman Bill Greenlee (in photo above) says he's heard estimates of hundreds of properties being stolen in Philadelphia alone.
"I mean there are still multitudes of properties getting stolen."
So he's proposing a measure that he believes would clamp down on property identity theft by making the city's records department be more careful before signing off on the deed transfer:
"They'll have to do a lot more checking on the documents that they get in. That the proper names are on there. If its an estate, that there's documentation of that. Those kinds of things."
Phila. City Councilman Hopes to Stop Property Identity Theft
by KYW's Mike Dunn
Philadelphia City Council may try to stop whatâ€™s called â€œProperty Identity Theftâ€ -- when homeowners discover someone has managed to claim control of their property.
Property identify theft happens when a scammer impersonates a homeowner (usually elderly), then signs a deed over to himself or takes out a mortgage on the victimâ€™s property. City councilman-at-large Bill Greenlee:
â€œThere have been hundreds if not thousands of instances over the years of people filing false deeds. Those properties are then re-sold, and it becomes a real legal mess for the actual, still-legitimate homeowner.â€
Greenlee has introduced a bill aimed at stopping this. It requires the Records Department to immediately send out three notices for any deed transfer: by mail to the original owner, on the cityâ€™s web site, and in the newspaper. No such notice is now required. His bill goes to committee.
Some have complained that these kinds of checks will only slow down deed transfers, but Greenlee says they are sorely needed.