State and county officials everywhere are warning homeowners to watch for a letter in their mailbox this fall, urging them to buy a copy of the deed to their home.
It's the latest in a series of urgent notices sent to homeowners, that many people fall for simply because they look urgent.
Looks like something you need
Like many homeowners, Pat McKendrick signed up for water line protection, because a letter made it seem like something he needed.
"It sounded attractive, especially since we are living in a home built in 1920," McKendrick said."We figured we might have some plumbing problems so it sounded good."
It turned out to be money wasted, when he was unable to use it.
Deed Letter showing up in mailboxes
Now, homeowners across the country are receiving another mailing: a "deed processing" notice, asking for $84 for a copy of the deed to your home.
County Auditor Dusty Rhodes said "it looks so official that people, I'm afraid, are sending money into this company and paying money for something they can get for just a nominal amount."
Rhodes says you don't need a copy of the deed to your home.
If you want one, he explains, you can just go to the county courthouse and get a copy for $10 or less.
Rhodes said "you don't have to pay $85 to get it."
Several different companies are offering these deed services, usually with on thing in common: A Washington, D.C. address, making it appear important and mandatory.
Rhodes said "look how it says 'final notice,' and how they are using an address on Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, DC, which, how much more official can you get? The implication is this is coming from the government."
It's not from the government in any way, and Rhodes and other officials around the country say this is one service you don't need.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line: anytime you receive a letter that asks you to pay for something, look closely at where it comes from.
Is it a government agency, or some company that looks like a government agency, but is not?
If so, it may be a case of don't waste your money.
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