TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Representatives from the Hillsborough County Clerk’s Office, local law enforcement and the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office came together Monday to urge property owners to protect themselves from property crooks.

Several counties in the Tampa Bay area offer the free alert system on their Clerk of Court’s websites. Hillsborough County Clerk of Court & Comptroller Cindy Stuart says it takes just five minutes to sign up.

“These five minutes may save you thousands of dollars, precious time and countless headaches,” Stuart said.

Property fraud occurs when thieves file fake deeds in public records and take ownership of someone else’s property. Unwinding the fake property deal is difficult.

To sign up for the alert in Hillsborough County, visit Property Fraud Alert or call (800) 728-3858.

To sign up for Pinellas County’s alert system, visit their page on the Clerk of Courts website.

Here’s where you can sign up for Pasco County’s alert system

If you’re in Manatee County, you can sign up for the alert system here.

Those in Polk County can find their alert system page on the Clerk of Courts website.