Pilot Consumer Notification Tool Launches

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By gshea

The Northern Essex Registry of Deeds has launched a free tool that notifies users whenever a document is recorded in their names or for their properties.

Anyone who owns real estate in Andover, North Andover, Lawrence or Methuen may subscribe to the service, which is free of charge. [CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP]

The idea came from countless meetings with constituents asking if services that offer to protect personal information and documents from cyber threats are worth the money when it comes to property deeds.

“People go and record documents on a homeowner’s property without the homeowner’s knowledge,”Northern Essex Register M. Paul Iannuccillo said. “So we started talking to our IT people to see if there was something we could do, if there was a mechanism to notify people who sign up if a document has been recorded on their property.”

The alert system can help homeowners avoid many problems, ranging from nuisance to financial disaster.

“I had a conversation with a homeowner whose identity had been compromised,” Iannuccillo said. “A credit card had been opened in the homeowner’s name. The card balance went unpaid and the credit card company filed a claim in Court and subsequently an attachment was filed on the homeowner’s property. The homeowner only found out that this had happened because he applied for mortgage on the property. This notification program will provide alerts to homeowners in the event a document is recorded on their property.”

And If someone has paid off a mortgage but the discharge was never recorded, Iannuccillo said, when they try to sell the home the mortgage will still be listed as outstanding, potentially throwing a red tape wrench into their planned home sale.

The consumer notification program helps users keep close tabs on their properties without having to do anything.

“It’s not fool-proof,” Iannuccillo said. “It’s a pilot program. We’re testing it now.”

Meanwhile Iannuccillo is continuing to host office hours and attend other events to help constituents deal with deed questions, and people can always call the registry for help in addition to using the consumer notification system.

Anyone who receives an alert that a document has been recorded in their name should contact the Northern Essex Registry immediately at 978-557-1900. A customer service specialist at the Registry will look it up and provide a free copy of the document that prompted the alert.

Anyone who gets an alert and feels the document is fraudulent should contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-2200 and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office at 978-745-6610.