Register of Deeds warning homeowners of potential scam
In the Oneida County Register of Deeds office, it has come to our attention that there have been solicitations being sent to property owners after their recent home purchases.
We have had calls and visits regarding mailings serving as a solicitation for services stating that they can provide a copy of the homeowners current “Grant Deed and Property Profile” for $85. This service is claiming to provide proof of ownership by generating a copy of the deed that was recorded in our office. It also provides some additional property information, which may include the legal description, address, tax parcel number and other “pertinent property and owner information”.
The company, Deed Retrieval Services (which also does business as Record Retrieval Department), has been sending Wisconsin homeowners letters that appear to be a bill for $85 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”, but the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau believes that consumers may overlook this fine print.
Although these businesses do make it clear that “this product or service has not been approved, or endorsed by any government agency, and this offer is not being made by an agency of the government”, it can be misleading as to what they are providing. Oneida County is making no assertions that the information being provided by these services is false or that the information may not be useful to homeowners. However, rather than paying $85 for a copy of your deed and property information, you can contact the Oneida County Register of Deeds, as this information may be available to you a reduced cost.
If you have not received the original recorded deed from the title company or attorney that handled the transaction, be sure to contact them first. The title companies and attorneys should send you the original recorded deed in the following weeks after the sale as part of the closing transaction.
If your original deed has been misplaced, the Oneida County Register of Deeds Office can produce an exact copy for approximately $2-5 in most cases. If you have any questions regarding these solicitations or services, please be sure to contact your title company, attorney or the Oneida County Register of Deeds office at (715) 369-6150.