The Delaware County Recorder’s Office is warning of a sequel to a scam seen earlier this summer.
For the second time this summer, concerned residents have contacted Delaware County Recorder Melissa Jordan about a deed solicitation letter asking for money in exchange for a copy of their deeds.
The letter comes from a company referring to themselves as the “Local Records Office” with a mailbox in Columbus, Ohio; the mailbox has the same street address as the local UPS store.
The company offers in the letter to provide a copy of the person’s property deed for an $89.00 fee. The mailing appears as if it is a bill from an official government records office at first glance due to the name, local address and detachable coupon the recipient is instructed to “detach and mail in with check,” but a small disclaimer on the mailing explains that this document is “not associated with any governmental agency.”
“Paying attention to the details of any curious mailing may prevent someone from being taken advantage of, but at first blush it could appear legitimate,” Jordan said. “I believe the wording of the letter is misleading. It could imply that a property owner would need to pay up to $89.00 for a copy of their deed at the Recorder’s Office.”
Jordan said uncertified copies of a deed can be obtained from the Recorder’s Office for 5 cents per page. Certified copies are $2 a page, plus a $2 certification fee. Most deeds are about three pages long.
Any deed recorded after 1990 can be viewed and printed free from the Recorder’s website at cotthosting.com/ohdelaware.
“While I am very surprised to learn of a second deed solicitation letter going around to Delaware County residents just this summer, these types of solicitations are not new,” Jordan said. “We’ve had a few in recent years. However, it is important to remind the public they have access to their property information directly from our office, either in person or over the internet. Please remember that once a property owner files a deed in the Recorder’s Office it is a permanent record of ownership. This filing protects the owner’s property rights. It makes no difference whether the property owner has a physical copy or original deed in their possession. The rights of ownership of that parcel are safe and secure.”
Jordan said the solicitation letter comes from a different company than the one seen around the county in July, but both targeted individuals who recently transferred property within the county.
“The letter even states the date the deed was filed and, in some cases, the parcel number, which could lend false legitimacy to the solicitation making recipients think it is the only way to obtain a deed,” she said. “That information is public and the companies sending these letters out have no more access to it than anyone else.”
For more information or assistance, call the Recorder’s Office at 740-833-2460. Visit the Recorder’s public website at cotthosting.com/ohdelaware. The Recorder’s Office is located at 140 North Sandusky Street, Delaware, Ohio on the first floor of the building. The office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.