Homeowners beware: Some unscrupulous companies are trying to get owners to pony up for a copy of their deed, but it’s a scam. You can get this document yourself—for free—from the recorder’s office in the jurisdiction where your property is located.
This deed scam is common across the country and also right here at home. It works like this: A notice is sent in the mail that resembles an invoice from companies with names such as “Local Records Office,” “Secured Document,” and “Record Transfer Service,” just to name a few. Many people mistakenly believe they are required to pay the fee to get a copy of their deed and willingly send the money. And as long as you receive the documents you’ve paid for, there’s nothing illegal about it. By law, the companies are required to include a disclaimer on the notices, but many people overlook it and wind up becoming victims of this scam.
Cases have been reported across the country, from North Carolina to California. And recently, one of our clients in Arlington received such an “invoice.” Fortunately, we had warned him about this sort of thing so he avoided falling prey to the deed scam and saved $83 in the process.
To save yourself some money, be sure to carefully review all bills you receive. And if you question the legitimacy of a bill you receive, contact the company that sent it and clear up any questions before you send in a payment.