A few weeks ago, we received word about what appears to be an official and important bill that was being sent out to residents and homeowners. It was a notice that said they were required to have a copy of their deed and a request for payment to receive a copy of their deed. (Click image to enlarge).
BEWARE! This is a scam!
First, all of our clients should receive (by mail) an original copy of their property deeds when re-titled to the name of the Living Trust that we have prepared for them. Second, if you ever do need a copy of a deed to property you own, this can and should be requested with the County Recorder's Office or call us and we can get a copy for you. Click here to see Contra Costa County's website for details about requesting copies of deeds (or simply look online for your county recorder's website for more details.
It's a reminder that when you receive a bill or notice you have never received before, be diligent and ask questions. Most scams get people on very small or nominal amounts that people will pay without question. The telling evidence that this is a scam is that on the envelope and at the top of the notice it states: "This service is to obtain a copy of your deed or title is not affiliated with any governmental agency." Even though throughout the notice it states that you are under no obligation, the way the advertisement reads, it feels like a bill or official business. We believe that the intention of this service is to fool consumers into paying this fee without much thought or consideration when it's truly not an item anyone needs and they're doing this by simply pulling mail lists of homeowners, which is why some of these notices are going to our clients in the name of their Living Trust.
If you have or do receive a similar notice, disregard the request for payment and consider filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission. You can call them at 1-877-FTC-HELP or file a complaint on line at http://ftc.gov/complaint.