Scammers demand money for their dirty deeds

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

 

Consumer Action is warning homeowners that scammers are sending mailings “offering” to sell them copies of their own property deeds. The deceptive solicitations would have the recipients believe that the government requires they immediately purchase certified copies of the legal documents (which is not true!). Often, the mailings state that homeowners must pay outrageous amounts of money for the copies, which can be obtained from local government for a nominal fee.

The solicitations can be convincing; they contain detailed information about a resident’s property, including the address, parcel number, square footage and year it was built. (You should know that scammers can easily obtain these records through public information, often available online.) The mailings also create a sense of urgency by featuring a “Please respond by” date, often listed as only a few days in the future.

If you have any questions regarding your property ownership or deed, contact your local government agency (typically the county courthouse or the “recorder of deeds” office). Consumers who believe they are victims of the property deed scam should contact their state attorney general and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

Consumer Action offers many free multilingual publications on how to protect yourself from frauds and scams. Click here to view these materials. You can also follow the breaking-news alerts and headlines we list on our homepage.

 

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