COLUMBIA — Boone County residents and others can now keep a watchful eye on county real estate with a new property notification service.
Boone County Recorder of Deeds Bettie Johnson on Friday announced the online system, which will notify registered users when their name or the names of others appears on any document catalogued in Boone County land records.
The new system will be available Monday.
“Timely notification can address discrepancies as soon as possible,” Johnson said at a news conference. “One of the issues is when a document comes to our office, we have no way to know if it is fraudulent because it has been notarized.”
Property and mortgage fraud are among the fastest growing crimes in the country, according to a news release from Johnson. She said informing property owners is another way to confirm the legitimacy of real estate transactions.
“A purpose of the public record is to have it for legal review,” Johnson said.
She said that if people are notified of a transaction in which they are not a party, they should contact an attorney or law enforcement immediately.
“The more time passes, investigating prosecuting, and identifying people (involved with fraud) gets harder to do,” Johnson said.
Users of the system will be able track specific names that appear on real estate records. They will be notified when documents with those names are recorded or modified. However, they will not be notified when the documents are being viewed.
“The system allows you to watch for things you want to see and don’t want to see,” said Dave Mudd, chief technology officer of Mobilis Technologies, which designed the software for the notification system.
Boone County residents can register for notifications at the Boone County Recorder of Deeds website. Each user will be asked for his or her name and e-mail address. An e-mail message will then be sent to the user to verify the registration.
Those without Internet access can receive notifications via mail. They can register at the Boone County Recorder of Deeds office at the Boone County Government Center, 801 E. Walnut St.
For businesses, an option exists for multiple users from the same company to register for notifications.
The notification system is free to use.
“There are services showing up in counties across the nation," Mudd said. "Some charge fees like $25 per name, which can discourage its use. The nice thing about our system is that it’s free.”
The notification system is not the only change on the Boone County Recorder of Deeds website. Starting Jan. 1, users will have to register to view documents on the website. Currently, the website has no such requirement.
The upgrades come from a $20,000 recorder’s fund for technological improvements, she said. The budget includes hardware purchases and upgrades still to come.
Johnson said the changes are in response to the public’s concerns over security on the website.
“The current system has been up for 10 years, and security issues came to the public forefront,” she said.