A fake ID and an out-of-state notary public is all it took for a Cobb County man to say a piece of his land was stolen right out from under him.
Greg May says when he received the annual tax bill for a 10-acre plot of land in Carroll County he’s owned for 15 years, he pulled it up on the county assessor website only to find the property was listed as sold, and he had allegedly sold it.
“I saw that I sold the property, and I told my wife the property was sold. ‘We didn’t sell the property, did we?’” May said.
May later saw the Georgia driver’s license used as proof of identification in the sale. It was his name, address and license number but it was not his picture or signature,” he told Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray.
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“In the state of Georgia, it is really easy. Anybody can get a license, put your picture on it, I guess. And you can claim a property as yours and sell it. It’s that easy and it should not be,” May said.
The fake Greg May even listed the property for sale with a relator on the Georgia MLS.
It was sold in March to a neighbor for $115,000. The paperwork was signed off by a Texas notary.
“It’s scary that it can be done that easily. I don’t know what to do,” May said.
In a Channel 2 Action News investigation last year, we showed you how the same thing happened to Eric Thompson’s South Fulton home.
“This is like a strong-arm robbery dude,” Thompson told Gray.
The buyer in that case had already sold the house himself before realizing the original seller was an imposter.
May has contacted local police, the closing attorney, the real estate agent, the buyer and an attorney of his own. He’s been told it could take months to sort out the mess.
“I don’t know what kind of checks and balances need to be put in to buy and sell properties, but it shouldn’t be this easy. It just shouldn’t,” he said.
Enhanced title insurance can help protect against this kind of fraud. Fulton County residents also have a free option that adds a layer of protection. Because of increases title fraud, the county created the Real Estate Activity Alert and Contact Tool or R.E.A.A.C.T. By creating an account and registering a parcel ID number on R.E.A.A.C.T., property owners receive alerts any time filings are made regarding the registered property.
If the filing isn’t recognizable, you can contact the Clerk’s Office and local authorities.
You can sign up for the program if you are a Fulton County property owner here.
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