County program provides homeowners with heads up

Led by Chief Deputy Assessor Jordan Marks, the San Diego County’s Office of the Taxpayer Advocate released its free real estate fraud notification service.

OWNER ALERT sends its subscribers that register for this service with automated e-mail notifications anytime a document is recorded with the San Diego County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk’s office that transfers title to a property or records a lien on a registered name.

Marks said his office of Taxpayer Advocate released the product.

“There is a rise of title theft in San Diego County according to the District Attorney’s Office,” he said. “My office meets with title/escrow/mortgages quarterly. So, a couple of years ago, I said, ‘How do we prevent and protect any homeowner or property owner from having their titles stolen, and the negative impacts that come with that?’”

Marks said like a credit card notification service, it is the same idea.

“If a criminal has your credit card for two years, and you do not know anything about it, the damage that they can do can be irreparable. But if you can catch the criminal in the middle of the crime, and we connect you directly with the District Attorney’s office if that is happening, you can prevent tremendous amount of damage and prevent the criminal from committing all sorts of crimes using your property,” he said.

Marks said it is the immediate notification that makes OWNER ALERT so valuable, just like with credit cards. Marks said the only warning is that it is a generic service of names, so if someone has the same name, you might get a notification for them.

“But you can view the document online and decide whether or not that is you and take action at that point,” he said. “There are services out there that try to sell the same idea, and we are providing it for free. When we tell the public, and the criminals too, that San Diego County has OWNER ALERT, they are going to want to do business somewhere else. They are not going to want to do business here in San Diego County.”

Marks said the other thing is, if you have senior parents or family members, you can sign up their properties as well, with up to 10 registrations per person, per e-mail.

“This allows you not only to protect your property, but you can protect your business property, you can protect your family’s property,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to protect you.”

To enroll in the free fraud notification service, go to and look for the check mark with the shield. It free and easy to sign up and takes less than five minutes.
To sign up property owners will need:
• E-mail address
• Individual and /or Business names to monitor
• Property Assessor Parcel Numbers (APN) to monitor.

Property APNs can be found on annual property tax bills (highlighted in yellow) or by using the free APN lookup tool on the website.

If you have questions related to OWNER ALERT, please e-mail or call (619) 238-8158. For in-person assistance please visit any five offices located conveniently throughout San Diego County. Visit for a list of locations and hours of operation.