MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A new tool is available to help Madison County property owners stay ahead of fraudulent real estate transactions.

The Probate Court of Madison County launched an online site that will alert property owners through email if a deed is filed in the Madison County Probate Office that changes the listed owner’s name in Probate Court and Tax Assessor records.

Officials say a significant increase in fraudulent real estate transactions in surrounding states and isolated cases in North Alabama have caused valid concerns.

This scam usually involves an “improperly conveyed deed” on an unoccupied home or vacant land.

County officials developed a notification system that any property owner in Madison County can subscribe to at no cost.

“Those individuals who perpetrate this type of fraud are becoming more and more creative,” Judge Frank Barger told News 19. “They are able to create transactions and situations that are far more realistic and don’t necessarily look fraudulent to the professionals involved. So it’s certainly a tool that is would be helpful to citizens in our community that are property owners”

Property owners may register at the Madison County Property Notification website or click the blue ‘property notification’ link when you review tax assessment records here.