Over the past months, usually a few weeks after purchasing a new home, many of our clients receive official looking notices regarding their real estate records. These notices insist that the homeowner must contact the company sending the notice, so as to receive their official, certified copies of deeds or mortgages from the recent closing. The fees charged are often at or near $100 per document.

This is a well-documented scam dating back a number of years. If you search for “deed service scam Illinois” on your web browser, you will get hundreds of results. For example, in the first link below you will find a notice from the Ogle County Clerk & Recorder in Oregon, Illinois, which contains examples of these mailings. You will see that the mailings contain official looking seals or titles, while using small print at the bottom or in a corner to include disclaimer language that this is not a government notice. These mailings are junk mail and should immediately be recycled.

The notices are simply nuisances that are meant to trick people into thinking they must pay for these copies. There is no reason to pay these companies for records, as all of the necessary documents are provided to home buyers at the closing, while deeds are mailed after being recorded by the county recorder. In addition, any homeowner can obtain their own copies from the county recorder either free of charge or for a nominal fee. If there is any confusion regarding such a notice received in the mail, a quick reading in search of disclaimer language or a brief review with an attorney will confirm if it is important or not.

Links to deed service scam information:

http://oglecounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Deed-Service-Soliciation-Notice-2016.pdf

http://www.morrisherald-news.com/2017/01/24/grundy-county-recorder-warns-of-deed-scam/a4nfdee/

http://chronicleillinois.com/news/local-news/records-recovery-service-scam/

http://www.realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/beware-of-this-deed-scam/?is_wp_site=1

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