Lawmakers launch effort to warn homeowners of deed theft, housing scams

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Elected officials are joining together in an effort to combat deed theft and other housing-related scams by going door-to-door and educating homeowners.

Local leaders and hundreds of volunteers were setting out to canvass neighborhoods in highly targeted communities. They are seeking to educate homeowners on how to protect their homes and avoid becoming the victim of housing scams.

Officials say the city has received around 3,000 complaints of deed theft since 2014, with 45% of those complaints coming from Brooklyn.

"We have said, 'If you own, you will prosper. You invest in your community, you will prosper.' But when black people have invested and when black people have owned, the American dream has become an American nightmare. So we are here today to say not in our neighborhood," says state Sen. Zellnor Myrie.

State Attorney General Letitia James is announcing the formation of a task force to help combat the issue.

"I recognize that deed theft is real, people are losing their homes," says James. "We have provided resources through the HOPP program to assist homeowners and to assist renters and tenants who are facing eviction."

James says she hopes that by educating the community, more homes in the city can be saved.

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