Got an email today form Pamela Forrest and Jennifer Shephard about an old scam that's making the rounds once again:
We just received a very obvious scam in our mail box today. The official looking yellow envelope is from the "Title Compliance Board . . . Records Retrieval Division" and they're asking for (demanding) $139 in order to send us a copy of the title to our property. I could tell it was a scam right away, since it reeks of b.s., (and the letter is so poorly written.) But I'm afraid some of my very well meaning neighbors might not understand the criminal intent behind this mean scheme and send in the money, and I would hate for that to happen.
The scam goes like this: a company with an official-sounding name sends you a letter implying that you need a certified copy of your home's deed, and they will provide it for you for some outrageous sum. But you can actually get it from official channels for a piddly amount -- check the county's registrar-recorder site for details and a list of fees.
Pamela and Jennifer also referred us to this real estate site, which talks about the scam and asks, "why would you need the deed anyway?"
There's a similar scam, which we've received in the mail, about paying a fee (we were quoted $129) to have your home reassessed for taxes in light of the present housing market. This is actually something the tax assessor will do FOR FREE!
The thing is, these scams aren't necessarily illegal -- they will perform a service for you -- they'll ask the county to perform the service. Problem is, you can ask the county yourself and save lots of money!