Don’t get scammed by anyone that wants money for property information.
Recently, one of my clients, a new Corvallis, Oregon homeowner, called me for advice about a form received in the mail. It was very official looking, referenced details about their specific property and transaction and requested that they send money.
In return the company would provide a property profile with “a wealth of information” and a copy of the deed. The homeowner wanted to know if it was really necessary to return the form and send the required payment of $87.00.
Even though the form said it was not affiliated with any governmental agency, the address was Salem, Oregon (our state capital), the details details about the property and the transaction (all of which can easily be gleaned from the Benton County Records and the Benton County Tax Assessors office), and was formatted in a manner that made it look official enough to cause the homeowner to feel like it was something that required a response. Lots of black print on white paper and definitions.
NO, NO, NO and NO! There is no reason, need or requirement to send money to obtain public record information about your property or a copy of the deed. The settlement agent for your transaction will make sure you get your deed. And, your deed is on file and a copy is easily obtained if needed.
The homeowner actually received two of these requests from two different mail boxes at the same address (how clever). I checked into the address and it’s a retail mail service (rents mail boxes).
There’s probably nothing illegal about it, as long as they send that “wealth of information”. But, it’s really unlikely that the service provides anything that you can’t obtain from the county or by searching the web. If it’s happening here, it’s likely happening elsewhere.
The following are copies of the second letter… different dollar request, different P.O. Box but basically the same concept.