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Schemes & Rip Offs: Home Deed Letter Scam - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Schemes & Rip Offs: Home Deed Letter Scam

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BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota -

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is warning consumers not to be duped by a company that's offering homeowners copies of their property deeds for an exorbitant price - in some cases more than 40 times the price consumers would pay if they were to purchase the same copies themselves at their county offices.

The company, Deed Retrieval Department (which also does business as Deed Retrieval Services and Record Retrieval Department), has been sending Minnesota and Wisconsin homeowners letters that appear to be a bill for $87 from the U.S. government for a property deed. However, despite the fact that it looks official, it's not a bill nor is it from the U.S. government. The letter says, "Why do we believe you need a copy of your current Grant Deed and Property Profile? State Record Regulation Department recommends that all U.S. homeowners obtain a copy of their current Grant Deed." At the bottom, the letter states that the "product or service is not endorsed by any government agency." However, the BBB believes that consumers may overlook this fine print.

"In most cases, homeowners don't even need a copy of the deed to their home," said BBB President and CEO Dana Badgerow. "And if you want a copy, we advise against paying $87 to this firm or any other when you can get one for a fraction of that price from your local County Clerk's or Register of Deed's office."

Letters from Deed Retrieval Department list an address in Champlin, Minnesota - which is a UPS Store. The company, operating under different names, also claims two additional addresses in Wisconsin; a Milwaukee address and a Madison address, both of which are UPS stores. It's likely that mail sent to any of these boxes is forwarded out of state. An alert has been added to the company's BBB Business Review, informing consumers about the BBB's concerns regarding this company and their marketing tactics.

How Can I Get a Copy of My Deed?:  

If you are thinking about selling or refinancing your home, you will need a copy of your deed. But you don't need to pay scammers for one. 

  • Where to get a new one: Call or check the website of the county clerk's office, where deeds are usually recorded. 
  • What you need to get it: The street address of the property. There is no fee if you request the title yourself, but there may be a small charge for copying and certification.
  • How long it takes: The process takes about 10 business days in most cases.

For More Information

For more advice, check out www.bbb.org for more home improvement tips

To find out more about scams, check out the new BBB Scam Stopper

Consumers who receive questionable offers or have concerns about mailings that appear to be official or have governmental ties, are encouraged to contact the BBB at 1-800-646-6222.

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