Return of Deed Scams

Scammers will often decide to dust off an old scam and use it again.

That’s the case with a deed scam that first became popular about 10 years ago, and we have seen
with some of our clients again recently. Seniors who still live in their own homes are especially
susceptible to this scam.

Seniors are targeted for this scam because they are often dealing with other legal documents
related to their estate.

It starts with a very official-looking document received in the mail. Titled Recorded Deed
Notice, this document includes purchase or transfer dates, document numbers, land value
information, the legal property address, a description of the property and the property
identification number.

At the bottom of the document, there is a payment slip. The recipient is told to detach and return
the slip with a payment or document fee by a specific deadline. Payments associated with these
scams have ranged from $85-$100. Generally, the return is to an official-sounding office, such as
the Records Transfer Service or Local Records Office.

At the very bottom, usually in small print, there is a statement explaining this is a solicitation.

Responding to these deed scams gets you nothing. In some Florida counties, you can go online to
the clerk’s office, type in your name in the appropriate location and download or print an
unofficial copy for free. In Alachua and surrounding counties, you can get a certified copy of
your deed for as little as $1 from the Clerk of the Court.