Scams Are Always in Season

Scams Are Always in Seaso…

A client recently completed her estate plan with our office; in conjunction with that estate plan, a new deed was recorded for her property. After the deed was recorded with the Oakland County Register of Deeds, she received a “Recorded Deed Notice” in the mail. The notice, which looked as if it might be from an official government entity, offered to provide the homeowner with copies of the newly recorded deed for a fee of $83. Fortunately, prior to taking any action, the client forwarded a copy of the notice to our office for review.

This notice, and any other that resembles it, is a scam. The third party, out-of-state companies behind the solicitations are attempting to charge amounts anywhere from $50 to $100 to provide something that typically costs $1 to $2. The solicitations attempt to strike fear and urgency by including deadlines for responding, reasons why you need a copy of your deed, and specific details about your property (including the name of owners with an interest, the parcel number and address of your property, and the date the deed was recorded).

While it is advisable to have copies of your property records, the solicitations fail to mention (or hide in fine print) that property records are readily obtainable from your county’s Register of Deeds. By going in person (or even online for many counties), property records are available to you for a nominal fee (only $1 per page in most instances). Additionally, if an attorney helped prepare or record the deed, that person likely has a copy or has arranged for the original deed to be returned to you after recording.

There are no laws against these companies selling you your information or limiting what they can charge to do so. If you receive any notice that is questionable, contact your county’s Register of Deeds Department or Wright Beamer.

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