SCAM ALERT: Paying for Copies of Deeds

The notice comes in an official looking envelope.  In bold, all capital letters, the envelope reads: “IMPORTANT PROPERTY INFORMATION    RESPOND PROMPTLY”.  A warning is printed regarding obstructing the delivery of the letter.  All of it looks very official.  Then off to the side, and in some cases in smaller print it reads “This is not a government approved or authorized document”.  But very few notice the smaller print and don’t realize this could be considered junk mail.

The correspondence inside indicates it is from the “Local Records Office”.  The correspondence indicates that for a small service fee of $89.00, a copy of your recently recorded deed and property profile to confirm you as the property owner of your property will be provided.   The correspondence typically lists your name, and the property address, as this “Local Records Office” is using the public records to complete this form letter and send it to you right after a deed has been recorded.

So what is the problem?  It sounds like a service that might be needed, right?  Well the problem is that clients are receiving this official looking correspondence and paying the fee without realizing what it is.  This “service” is providing a copy of the same document that my office just recorded for them.   My office will be sending the original of the same document back to the client – so having a copy is not valuable at all.  In other words – you are paying for a copy of a document which you will shortly have in your possession.

As the correspondence contains a warning that this company is not affiliated with a governmental agency, they are apparently immune from lawsuits.  There is language indicating it is a solicitation for services and not a bill due, but I can attest that it looks so official, and has your name, assessor’s parcel number and other information.  With all of this information provided, it looks like it could be from the County.  It sickens me that so many people fall victim to this.  While it may not be a scam per se, as you do get a copy of your deed and a property profile if you pay for the service, it is a waste of money when both of those items would either be provided by my office or easily obtained through your own public records search.  I would urge you to contact our office if you receive any paperwork relating to your property with such a service listed.  We are happy to review it for you, and advise you that correspondence like this needs to be shredded and placed in the circular file.

* The information contained in this Blog is intended for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion of counsel.