Deed scam letters being sent to new Pinellas homeowners

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — If you get an official-looking letter in the mail offering to get you a copy of your property deed for $89, don’t fall for it.

The scam is circulating in Pinellas County and it’s a waste of money.

The con artists are going after new homeowners. The information about a sale is public, so they go through those records and send you the letter.

It’s a proud moment when you sign paperwork to buy a new home and move in, but some Pinellas homeowners are getting the letter in the mail not long after the real estate sign comes down.

Dorothea Phelps is a new homeowner, and she received it and considered responding.

The letter states $89 is the fee charged by the company to have them send you a copy of your recorded deed.

It looks legit because the company has your address, sale price and other information. But small type reveals it’s not affiliated with the county and is a solicitation.

“I hope they’re stopped. I hope it’s closed down,” Phelps said. “I hope that somebody investigates this because it’s is a scam.”

Pinellas County Circuit Court Clerk Ken Burke is very familiar with this scam.

He said, there is no reason to use the services of the company in the letter.

“Not, not at all,” he said. “Matter of fact for a person, if they have a one-page deed, it would only cost three dollars.”

That means the company behind the letter, County Records Office, makes $86 every time somebody falls for it.

At the clerk’s office, it’s much cheaper. Or even better, you can go the clerk’s website in the county where you live, look up your deed and print out an unofficial one for free.

“It’s a rip-off,” said Burke.

“Rip it up,” Phelps said. “100 percent.”

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