Property, lots & housing

Report suspected deed or mortgage fraud

Service overview

If you suspect you are a victim of deed or mortgage fraud, you should report the fraud to the Department of Records. We will provide you with information and direct you to the appropriate resources. You can also read more about how to report deed fraud on this page.

Deed fraud occurs when a person sells a home pretending to be the owner without the permission of the legal owner. The legal owner’s name is removed from the deed without the legal owner’s knowledge or informed consent.

Mortgage fraud occurs when someone signs a mortgage against a property that they do not own to borrow money against the property. The mortgage transactions are completed without the knowledge or informed consent of the legal owner of the property.

Did you know you can protect yourself from deed and mortgage fraud? Register for a free Fraud Guard account.

Who

Anyone who suspects they may be a victim of deed or mortgage fraud regarding a property located in the City of Philadelphia.

Requirements

You are not required to provide specific documentation to report suspected deed or mortgage fraud. However, we recommend that when you visit the Department of Records, you bring with you as much information as you can gather. The more information you are able to provide, the better we can assist you. The resolution of property fraud requires court action, including a court order issued by a judge.

Where and when

You may visit us in our Reference Room in City Hall, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment to meet with us in person to report the property fraud. These issues can be very complicated, and we find that a face-to-face meeting is the best way to assist you. You can contact us to make an appointment.

Department of Records
City Hall, Room 154
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 686-2290
records.info@phila.gov

Cost

There is no cost to file a Deed or Mortgage Fraud Report with the Department of Records.

How

If you believe you are the victim of property fraud, we recommend you take the following actions.

1
Speak with the Department of Records

Our staff will interview you in person, if possible, or at least speak to you over the phone to ensure we understand your situation and can direct you to the appropriate resources.

2
File a Deed/Mortgage Fraud Report

File a Deed/Mortgage Fraud Report with the Department of Records. You must come to the Department of Records to file the report, Due to the complexity of deed and mortgage fraud, we do not allow these to be filed online.

3
Get a copy of your deed or mortgage
  • Obtain a certified copy of the deed or mortgage in question from the Department of Records. Be sure to search the records by property address to make sure there are no other fraudulent documents. Department of Records staff will assist you in obtaining a certified copy.
  • If you are not able to visit City Hall, you can request a copy of the of the deed or mortgage in question by mail. Include your name and address, the address of the property in question and a brief description of the problem. Requests should be sent to Attn: Supervisor, at our address.
  • You may also view (not print) an unofficial copy of your deed or mortgage online at no cost. Or you may pay for an online subscription with a credit card to print the deed or mortgage. A 24-hour online subscription costs $15. There also are longer subscription periods and fees listed on our website, if you need them.

Take these additional actions

  • Report the fraud to the Police Department.
  • After filing a police report, notify the District Attorney’s Office at (215) 686-9902
  • Notify the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection at 1-(800) 441-2555.
  • Obtain the services of a real estate lawyer immediately.

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