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Identity Theft facilitated by county recorder's office


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I was curious how one went about getting an item removed from the county recorder's office after a judgment had been vacated. I e-mailed the recorder's office and here's the conversation:

ME: I am in the process of having a judgment vacated. This judgment has been recorded by the Maricopa County Recorder's office.

I need to know what steps I need to take to have this judgment removed from the Recorder's Office.

THEM: A release would have to be issued from the court.

ME: Once the court has issued the release, will they send you a copy or will I have to send that to you?

THEM: You will need to send it with a $10.00 recording fee.

ME: Sorry, just one more question, if I may: Will this cause the judgment paperwork to disappear from your website? The judgment holder has placed my social security, drivers license, home address, date of birth, etc on this judgment. Since recorded documents are available to all on the internet, I am very worried about identity theft.

THEM: No records in our database are archived forever. It will show the judgment and then it will show that the judgment is released.

(BEGIN RANT): Needless to say, I'm more than a bit peeved that my personal info will be available for the next identity thief to take for the rest of my life (and then some). Something MUST be done to stop this practice!!! I don't want to go through the process of cleaning up my credit reports just to have someone steal my identity and ruin it all over again. I think I've been punished enough with the collection calls, repo and BK! (RANT OVER)

I was hoping that you great folks on this board would be able to help me write a strongly worded letter to my state's governor, attorney general, county attorney, and anyone else who might be in a position to help on this matter.

I was thinking something along the lines of:

DATE

AZ GOVERNOR, ETC

ADDRESS

ADDRESS

RE: Identity Theft - County Recorder's Office

Dear GOVERNOR:

It has recently come to my attention that the Maricopa County Recorder's office has documents on its website that would facilitate anyone who chose to steal another's identity. The document in my case is a vacated judgment.

I was informed by an employee of the County Recorder's Office that the judgment would be available on-line for all to view forever. This judgment contains sensitive information such as my date of birth, drivers license number, social security number, and home address.

As Arizona is number one in the nation in identity theft, I would hope that you will understand my concern in this matter.

I would like to clarify that my only objection to this being available for all to see is the inclusion, with no trunctuation, of all of my personal information.

I believe it is well within your office's power to enact legislation to prevent this action form continuing to occur.

I look forward to your response,

ANGRY VOTER :twisted:

Please correct, disect, etc.etc.etc.

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Someone posted a similar topic on this a month or so ago. I'm pretty sure this was Cincinnati, OH.

Then someone else did something the next day (sending an email to the attorneys general office??? expressing their concerns). Maybe SinSinatti

They changed the website within a day or two.

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Were they refering to the court's database? A vacated judgment should be deleted from your personal credit files.

I think it's set up much like your driving record. While a normal viewing of your record shows "no accidents or convictions in five years", a more in-depth viewing (usually done by the courts) will show all your driving offenses.

Just a thought.....

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No. This is not the court database. This is the database for the County Recorder's Office. Basically, it will list (and then show in PDF format) ANY recorded document that has been recorded with their office. This includes divorce decrees, house deeds, judgments, etc.

AZ recently passed a law that forbids the on-line viewing of recorded military discharge paperwork in an effort to stop identity theft. This would mean that they recognize that there is indeed a problem with their web-site. I don't understand why they didn't take it the necessary step further and ban the full viewing of personal information. Doesn't anyone at the recorder's office own a black marker???? That's all it would take. Just black out portions of the personal info.

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Welcome to the information age! Personal identifying information like you describe is nothing new in court records. It has been this way since the beginning of court records. What is new is public accessiblilty to records via the Internet. It was bad enough when you had to visit the courthouse to dig up dirt on people--only now it's possible from the comfort of your easy chair. I would expect the problems of ID theft to get much worse before access to sensitive information is improved. Quite frankly I am not particularly concerned who has my SSI, DOB, and DMV information any more because anyone who really wants it can get it through public sources. So, you're correct, the courts and government are really the ones to blame for the problem!

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Agreed about the Patriot Act. Will have to search it to see if there is something there I can use.

Question: If (god forbid), someone were to steal my identity by using the info posted on the website, could the state be held liable to any extent? AZ just changed the statute to read something to the effect that no actual damages have to occur.

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