House Deed Scam Back Again?!

bills house deed property tax Nov 06, 2023
House Deed Scam explained by Attorney with in front of house with words

Unfortunately, some things never go away. In fact, they can get more pervasive and insistent with time.

One such scam going around directly impacts my clients who put their real estate into their revocable living trusts as well as their irrevocable property trusts. Once the deed is recorded at the county register of deeds office, people are receiving a notice in the mail with an invoice for $112 (this time). It is formatted just like the standard county tax department statements and invoices. The language of the notice fills the page, just like a county tax department statement or invoice. And block outlining payment options looks just like a county tax department statement or invoice.

But it isn’t from the county tax office, nor is it from any government agency. Instead, it is actually a solicitation letter to provide you with a packet of publicly available information that you do not necessarily need to have.

The notice often prominently displays “Recorded Deed Notice,” and here are some of the things offered:

  • A copy of your deed
  • A copy of your property tax statement
  • A copy of your “property assessment profile” (whatever that means)

This is nothing more than a way for someone to generate money by printing out a few pages of publicly available information, and then mailing you the packet. It probably takes less than five minutes for them to find and print this information. In fact, it probably takes more time to label, stamp, and send the packet than it does to collect and print the information.

If you receive this notice, please look for the following red flag words in the letter that should indicate it is not a tax bill:

  • Print at the top or bottom of the letter that states it is not from a government agency
  • The word “complimentary” in conjunction with the information being provided (because some states mandate you can’t charge for some of the publicly available information, so that is “complimentary” while the property assessment profile is something they generated.
  • The phrase “no obligation to pay” or “no requirement to pay” means that it is not a tax bill. Believe me, county governments do not send anything that looks like bill that does not have a requirement to pay a bill.

If you do receive something that looks like a bill, you don’t see any of the red flag phrases, but you are still suspicious, then please let us know and be ready to email us a copy of the letter. When in doubt, you can always call the county tax office with questions about these “bills.”

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