Lawmakers sign off on an anti-property fraud early warning system

Lawmakers sign off on an anti-property fraud early warning system

Rep. Christine Hunschofsky

The Legislature signed off Tuesday on a public records exemption designed to boost participation in an automated, anti-property fraud early warning system.

The Senate voted 39-0 to approve HB 285 by Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, D-Coconut Creek. Sen. Nick DiCeglie, R-St. Petersburg, sponsored the companion, SB 1000.

The measure would protect the personal identifying information of people who register with their court clerk to receive email alerts whenever a deed, mortgage, or other official record is recorded in their name.

In November, Lee County Court Clerk and Comptroller Kevin Karnes told the House Civil Justice Subcommittee that anti-property fraud measures crafted with the help of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section attorneys were showing promise.

Lee County’s alert system had 46,000 active registrations in November. It became operational in 2019, but more than 87% of registrations were between 2022 and 2023, Karnes told the committee. The system was available through all of Florida’s court clerks this year, Karnes said.

More property owners would participate if they knew that their personal information would not be part of a public record, Karnes said.

“There has been an overwhelming positive reaction from Lee County citizens. They are incredibly grateful that we are doing something in this space,” he said.

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