ATLANTA — Homes are being stolen. It's a growing problem in Atlanta that our investigative team has been digging into for months.
11Alive Investigates has received many questions about how fraudsters are able to get away with this.
It's a crime that doesn't seem possible – the home you live in and own, could it be stolen?
Here's how it happens
Thieves pick a house, assume your identity with fake identification, forge your signatures on official paperwork and then they file it.
After that, they now own your home.
One 11Alive viewer asked: How does the fraudulent paperwork get through?
Attorney Ned Blumenthal said if the clerk gets the notarized paperwork, by law, they must record it and file it.
"In the simplest matter that somebody could go out today and get a fake ID and claim – shows that they're the owner of the property and if they've done their research they've got, on the driver's license they'd have the address of the property, and they would have your personal information that they found through any number of public sources and they would just say they're you," Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal said to be on the lookout for warning signs like missing tax bills or missing utility bills.
Also, be sure to check your deed records at least once a year.
You can also sign up for a program to protect your house if you live in Fulton County. Click here for more information about Fulton County's R.E.A.C.C.T. program and how to sign up.