“Local Records Office” Scam

By Peter Casey Wall, Director of Technology and Compliance
September 28, 2017


This is an update on an old scam targeting recent home purchasers that seems to be making a return in our area. It seems to have started on the West Coast in California and Arizona, but we have recently received notice from a client of this scam showing up now in New Jersey. I had personal experience with seeing a scam of this nature as far back as 2005.

The basics of this scam are that shortly after completing the purchase of their home, buyers will receive in the mail a letter from a company with a name specifically or similar to “Local Records Office.” The scammers are attempting to convince the buyers that they are the recorder of deeds, Clerk or Register with that company name. Inside the letter, the buyers will be instructed that in order to prove they have ownership of their home, they must fill out a form and submit payment in the amount of $89 to get a copy of their deed. There is little doubt that this company actually does provide them with a copy of their deed. That being said, there is also no need to pay $89 for something the buyer will probably receive from the settlement agent, or that they could themselves acquire at little or no cost directly from the County.

If you receive a letter such as this, trash it, or better, shred it in order to protect your identity. (Knowledge of a recent purchase could be used by identity thieves to open liens on your property.)

I recommend sharing the following text in an email with your network of clients, friends and family:

“Recently, New Jersey homebuyers have reported receiving a solicitation from a company with the name Local Records Office in which they are advised that they need to pay $89 to receive a copy of your deed. If you receive this letter, destroy it, or if you’re not sure of its legitimacy, show it to me and we can confirm for you if it’s real or bogus. You should know that you will receive your original recorded deed from your settlement company and that obtaining a copy of your deed from the county can be done quite easily for little or no money.”

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