Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office warning homeowners of new scam

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office is raising a red flag on a new scam targeting metro families and their homes.

"We've had individuals coming into the Treasurer's Office and paying off homeowners past-due taxes without their knowledge. Now that in itself is not criminally against the law," said Mark Opgrande, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.

It seems like a friendly gesture, but it's actually a ploy to get a property owner out of their home illegally.

Scam artists do it by forging a warranty deed with either a fake notary stamp or signature. A fake eviction notice is then posted to your door by the scam artists without assistance from the sheriff's office.

"In this case, they've actually been attempting to forge the signature of the former Oklahoma County Sheriff, John Whetsel. In many cases before, his name would appear on an eviction notice,” Opgrande said.

The scammers found their targets through the treasurers' website. They typically looked for people who are years past due on their property taxes.

"Someone comes in and pays your taxes, that gives them zero claim on your property. Cannot over empathize that, that gives them absolutely no claim against your property," said Oklahoma County Treasurer Forrest “Butch” Freeman.

Once scammers get you out of your home, it's now theirs.

"What we would speculate of them to do is literally try to flip the house very soon," Freeman said.

And getting it back could cost you thousands in court fees.

To check on your property, call the Oklahoma County treasurer or log onto the website.

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