In a Dec. 3, 2012, email alert, the Indiana Attorney General cautions Hoosiers to be wary of mailings offering copies of property deeds “for an excessive fee.”
The approach used in these mailings may vary, but it often involves private companies “with a government-like name” sending mailings to consumers offering to get them certified copies of their deeds at high fees.
Some mailings, the Attorney General notes, are offering deeds at costs “up to $87” each.
Since deeds are public records, they are available from the County Recorder’s Office “for free or at a nominal cost.”
While the Attorney General notes that a “property deed service is not necessarily illegal,” a solicitation may be misleading. Attorney General Greg Zoeller states that “homeowners are not required to have copies” of the deeds to their homes.
The Attorney General suggests consumers avoid the mailings and also caution others they know as well, especially senior citizens.
The Attorney General states that those who paid for a deed service, but failed to receive a deed copy may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by going online at www.IndianaConsumer.com, or by requesting a complaint form at (800) 382-5516.
Consumers who would like to receive fraud alerts from the Office of the Attorney General may subscribe to the email service at http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2730.htm.
Opinions are solely the writer's. Joseph Pellicciotti is a lawyer, professor and vice chancellor at Indiana University Northwest.