There are scams everywhere. Tax scams, work at home job scams, and relief scams… Property deed scams aren’t new, but you should take note of the latest one found by Steve Rhode at Get Out of Debt Guy.
The property deed scam
Official-sounding companies send out solicitations that alert homeowners that they should have a copy of their property deed, and will provide it for a fee.
Though these solicitations seem official, offering advice and suggesting that you need to have an official or certified copy of your deed, you can easily get one for little or no cost.
Even if you need a copy of yours, it’s usually available from your county or other property office at little or no cost.
The mailer Rhode mentions from a company called “Record Transfer Service” offers to provide a deed to homeowners for $83 and in about 21 days. After a bit of research, Rhode called “scam!” because:
- The address for the company is 1176 I Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington, DC. It is a mail drop address.
- There is no company named “Record Transfer Service” registered to do business in the District of Columbia.
- The mailer says you can get a copy of your property deed from your county recorder, but also for $83. If you don’t already have a copy, you can get one online from your local county’s website, from your courthouse, or by mail for a nominal fee.
Many scams try to sell you something you can get for free, but be smart and look into the details.
Protect yourself against this scam
So, what should you look out for? How can you protect yourself? Research, research, research! Like with any scam, never send money to any company without knowing if they’re legitimate, no matter how well-meaning they may seem. Anyone can craft a fancy sounding letter, advertisement or webpage in the hopes that a few people will fall for it and fork over some cash.
Check the Index of State and Local Consumer Agencies if you get a notice from a company claiming to be government-related.
Sometimes, just looking up the address on the mailer or doing a Google search can help you dodge a scam.