Scammers Try to Convince You to Pay for What’s Free
Watch out for seemingly official letters about your deed.
One of our clients walked into the office this morning with an envelope he received from “Record Transfer Services”. The envelope has a big, bold warning about five years’ imprisonment for anyone interfering with delivery of the letter. The warning is in a bold box. Below that are the words “this is not a government approved or authorized document”, but that is not the first, second, or even third thing that your eyes are drawn to.
Our client recently sold a house and bought a condominium. He put the money left over in savings. The people who sent this envelope saw the deed transfers – as anyone can, since they are public records.
Inside the ominous envelope is a letter with lots of boxes, bar codes, shaded areas and other style elements that make it look like something the city might send out.
The bottom line of the letter is that the send offers to obtain a copy of your deed for you, for only $83.00, in 21 days.
They do tell you – again, in a place where your eye is not naturally inclined to go – that you can get a certified copy of your deed for somewhere between $4 and $20, depending on the number of pages.
The letter does not tell you that you can print out an uncertified copy of your deed – in fact, just about any deed – for free, from any computer connected to the internet and a printer.
The letter probably is technically legal, because it does tell you, somewhere on the page, part of the truth. It is designed to take advantage of people who don’t have an attorney, or who are not experienced with real estate, or who just don’t have the time to deal with too much paperwork.
If you get anything in the mail that looks official, read it VERY carefully, because it might not be official at all. If you have any doubt, run it by another pair of eyes. Every day dishonorable people are thinking hard about how to take your money for nothing. Don’t be a victim.