It's a problem not only in Michigan, but nationwide.

Tax time generally means 'scam time'. I'm sure you may have noticed an increase in all the spam and phishing emails you've gotten lately. I myself have received several emails claiming I have an unpaid parking citation and an unclaimed tax refund-- how could one girl be so lucky?

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Well, that's the problem--I'm not.

The sheriff's office in Allegan County is warning residents they're seeing an uptick in property fraud across the Great Lakes State and it's not just limited to Michigan! Both realtors and actual property owners have fallen victims to this type of scam in nearby states like Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

Here's How It Works:

According to the Allegan County Sherriff's Office (ACSO) these fraudulent "property owners" are reaching out to local realtors regarding the potential sale of said property.  Unsuspecting realtors are typically contacted via email; the sender claims to be the property owner when in fact, they aren't.

According to the ACSO this type of property fraud/theft can go far, almost all the way to "Sold!" Adding,

Some of these incidents have resulted in the sale, or near sale of a persons property without their consent

Now, I'm a Millennial so of course I don't own any property but I can't help but wonder if there are any checks and balances in place to prevent this sort of thing? It turns out there are!

According to the sheriff's office residents and property owners can sign up for subscription services like Property Fraud Alert that notifies owners when changes are initiated to their home/property titles.

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