Don’t get fooled by a common deed scam. If you receive an official looking letter that says you need to spend money to order a copy of your deed, don’t reach for your wallet.

deed scamIf you’ve received a letter like this one from National Record Service, Inc., don’t send in your payment before considering the fact that you can probably get a copy of your deed for free – or much less than the $59.50 that National Record Service charges.

Klamath Falls, Orgegon’s Herald and News published an article entitled “Deed Scam Circulating,” wherein the County Clerk advised “[National Record Service has] every right to provide that service, but it is a scam in the sense that you can get [a copy of your deed] locally for much less.”

Aggravated customers have made 102 complaints on the National Record Service Better Business Bureau’s page. While I have no personal knowledge of whether NRS provides satisfactory service once a customer orders a deed, it appears that some are either dissatisfied with the service, or frustrated that they paid more than necessary to obtain a copy of their deed.

In many counties in Ohio one can print a copy of their deed in only a few minutes by visiting the County Recorder’s webpage online at no charge.  For example, here is the Franklin County Recorder’s online public record search. In counties that don’t have online access, a phone call to the County Recorder will tell you how much they would charge to send a copy, which is usually only a few dollars.

Alicia Bodine, a contributor on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, summed up this issue well in an article she titled “National Deed Service, Inc.: A Current Alert with the BBB” when she said “Bottom line is this: Don’t pay hard-earned money for something you can easily get yourself.”

This was originally posted onthe Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog.

Russell C. Golowin is an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney for families in the Columbus, Ohio area.  If you need assistance with creating a new quit claim deed, survivorship deed, or transfer on death affidavit, call (614) 453-5208 today. Visit his website for more information on Ohio estate planning.