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County Clerk Leads the Fight Against Property Fraud

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Property fraud, also known as deed fraud or “house-stealing,” is a rapidly growing white-collar crime in the United States. HousingWire, a news outlet that covers the latest trends and developments in the mortgage and real estate markets, reports that there has been a significant increase in the breadth and sophistication of fraud attempts targeting every aspect of the real estate industry. From fake listings to advanced phishing schemes to wire fraud, the real estate industry is under attack.

County Clerk Jennifer Fogg wants to remind citizens of Rockwall County that they can sign up for Property Fraud Alert (PFA) for free. This program notifies individuals via text message, email or phone call when something is filed under their name. The notifications allow recipients to verify if the activity was initiated by them or by someone attempting to commit property fraud.

State Representative Justin Holland successfully passed House Bill 1195, also known as the ‘Dirty Deeds’ Law, during the 88th Regular Session. The bill combats criminal deed fraud by granting County Clerks the authority to request photo identification for the filing of property records. Clerk Fogg notes that since October of 2023, her office has seen fewer suspicious filings related to real property. The passing of HB 1195 has assisted with two arrests and three felony indictments for two individuals who committed property fraud.

Clerk Fogg aims to address the issue of deed fraud at the next Texas legislative session by shoring up the integrity, education, and records retention of in-person notaries public. She looks to support a new House Bill to establish education requirements for appointment and reappointment as a notary public, a retention period for notary records, and a criminal offense to penalize notaries complicit in deed fraud.

To safeguard against becoming a victim of property fraud go to:

Press Release: County Clerk Leads the Fight Against Property Fraud

Submitted by: Jim Barto, Rockwall County Public Information Officer

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