RICHMOND (WRIC)—Attorney General Mark Herring is warning Virginia property owners to be cautious of companies offering to sell them a copy of the deed to their homes.
Homeowners throughout the state have been receiving official-looking letters that offer to sell them a copy of their deeds for $83.
"Even though these letters look like official notices, they are actually solicitations and should be treated as such," Herring said. "Most home and property owners will receive a copy of their deed at the time of purchase, but if a deed is lost or needs to be replaced, county clerks can often do so at a much lower price. Consumers should read these letters carefully and know they are under no obligation to take action by any artificial deadline."
Herring said homeowners should know that they are under no obligation to pay these entities or to purchase a copy of their deed.
Copies are usually available from the local clerk of court at a much lower rate than offered in these letters. Consumers are encouraged to check with their local court clerk for pricing information.
The letters look legitimate and use official-sounding phrases like "compliance response date."
"The look and feel of the letter create the mis-impression in a lot of people's minds that it's an official form from a state or local government, and that they're required to buy a copy of their deed from this company," Herring said.
But the bottom of the letter states it is in no way affiliated with the government, and you're not required to pay the fee.
If you have a consumer complaint or believe you have been a victim of fraud, call the Virginia Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-552-9963 or visit ag.virginia.gov.
"It's important to read the details," Herring said. "If anybody ever has a question about it, they can always reach us on our consumer protection hotline or the Attorney General's website. And we can answer any questions they may have." Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond