Crow Wing County Recorder Kathy Ludenia has alerted property owners of a scam.
Ludenia said people shouldn’t be misled by notices from companies offering to provide a certified copy of the deed to their property. Private companies are sending direct mail solicitations to area residents seeking advance payment in the form of cash, check or credit card for the service of providing a certified copy of the property owner’s deed.
If you receive this type of mailing, Ludenia advises disregarding it. The companies in question try to frighten the homeowner into thinking there is some urgent need for them to obtain a copy of their deed and then charge an exorbitant fee to provide the service, Ludenia said.
Those same scam artists then contact the county recorder’s office and obtain the certified copy for $10, which is the fee set by Minnesota statutes.
Ludenia said while the service the company provides is not technically illegal, the letters are certainly misleading and a scheme to use public records for profit. The fees charged generally range from $50 to $100.
Homeowners should know that evidence of their real estate ownership is secured by an archived copy of their deed or other type of instrument by which they acquired title, which is stored in the county recorder’s office. Ludenia said the evidence of their ownership is not based on whether or not they have a certified copy in their possession as the solicitation letter implies.
Certified copies of recorded real estate documents are rarely requested for purposes other than court proceedings and should the property owner need such a copy it is easily obtained directly from the county recorder’s office for a fee of $10.
Anyone with questions or concerns regarding this matter may call the Crow Wing County Recorder’s office at 824-1280.