How the scam works:
The day you receive the keys to your new home is one of the most exciting days of a person's life. The thrill of home ownership comes with a hefty price tag though. There are appraisal fees, listing fees, closing costs and other unforeseen expenses that go along with the home-buying process.
The Record Retrieval Document scam seeks to take advantage of new homeowners at a time when they're vulnerable. The scam begins in the form of a letter received by the victims, advising them they only have days to send in money to obtain a copy of their deed. The money is usually a bit less than $100 and many new homeowners gladly send in the check. Unfortunately, the deed never arrives, and as many find out later, it is not something you need for your records anyway.
The scam works so beautifully because the documentation looks like it comes from an official government agency. What many do not realize is, a copy of your deed is available at your local county recorder's office, and many times they will give you a copy for the price of about $1, and in some counties they charge absolutely nothing for the copy.
How to avoid the Record Retrieval Document scam:
When buying a home, you are inundated with paperwork. Often, a request for money leads to a hurriedly scrawled check stuck in the mail with no scrutiny. However, you should carefully read every document that arrives in the mail and, regardless of how official it may look, question it. Run it by your realtor; they can advise to the validity of the document and the request for money. Being vigilant will save your money for the inevitable expenses that go hand in hand with the joys of home ownership.
How to report the Record Retrieval Document scam:
Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
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