By Joseph Callaway

If you own real property in Maricopa County, you could be victimized by title fraud. The number one target for these criminals is free and clear property, particularly vacant land. What happens is the fraudster will list your home or land for sale pretending to be you. They do everything through email with the agent and title company. Next thing you know, someone has purchased your property, the criminal has the money, and you have an angry owner. The best protection is to sign up for Maricopa Title Alert. They will send you an email whenever there is activity on your property. Go to, or call your favorite Realtor such as Those Callaways 480-596-5751 and they will sign you up!

Protect Yourself
The number one thing you can do to protect yourself is to take your wallet or purse to a copy machine and make a hard copy of everything, your ID, driver’s license, passport card, insurance cards, credit cards, a blank check––everything, making sure to copy both sides of all materials. The backs of credit cards usually have important 800 numbers in case they are lost or stolen. Now add copies of your utility statements, mortgage statements, everything with an important number. When you are all done and have everything in one folder or envelope, make a second copy and then keep these two copies of your life in two separate places – your home, your office, a safe deposit box – wherever they can be safe from disaster, including fire, flood, theft, anything. Now you are safe from life’s disasters.

Yes, you can do all this with the camera on your phone but then I have a friend whose phone was stolen. You can email it all to yourself and attempt to hide it in your email history, but hackers can get into that in minutes and search a couple of key words such as credit or account number and then they own your information.

Joseph Callaway is with Those Callaways eXp Realty and has been selling houses in The Magic 85254 Zip Code for more than 26 years.