Orlando, Fla. (July 12, 2007) -- Traveling2Florida.com, which connects owners of Florida vacation rental
homes with hundreds of interested renters, is issuing a warning to vacation homeowners regarding quit claim deed fraud.
With this rising scam, criminals search publicly accessible county property appraiser websites, find out which homes are not owner
occupied (including Florida vacation rental homes) and who owns said homes, fill out inexpensive quit
claim deed paperwork with forged signatures, and have themselves declared the new owners of the property. Once this somewhat
simple process is complete, the new so-called owners of the property may either resell it to unsuspecting buyers or take out a
new mortgage, eventually disappearing with the money. The actual property owner is left with a legal battle on his or her hands,
once the fraud is brought to light.
Unfortunately, there is currently no foolproof way to prevent quit claim deed fraud, but there are measures that can be taken to
avoid the problem. First, owners of Florida vacation rental homes may wish to establish a land trust that can hide the actual owners'
names from public record. This makes it more difficult for a criminal to forge a signature, and will likely make the property less appealing
to a thief. Second, all owners of Florida vacation rental homes should check the property appraiser websites on a weekly basis in order to
catch an unauthorized change in ownership or any other inaccurate information as quickly as possible. Finally, owners should talk to their
county authorities to ensure that when a quit claim deed is filed, the county is following up to determine that the signature is authentic
and that all parties are knowledgeable about the agreement. Some counties already have such measures in place, but not all.
Those looking to purchase Florida vacation rental homes should also be aware of quit claim deed scams and should be careful to review any
and all documentation before making a final purchase to make sure the seller of the property does truly have the rights to make the sale.
"Quit claim deed fraud can be devastating to the owners of Florida vacation rental homes," said Fraser Hannah, owner of Traveling2Florida.com.
"Don't let someone steal your home out from under you - make sure you are aware of the problem and of the potential solutions in order to avoid
a major headache down the road."