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July 12, 2013

Mail scam targets property owners

Delaware company tries to sell free copies of deeds for $83

LAWRENCE — Register of Deeds M. Paul Iannuccillo is warning homeowners to beware of a Delaware company offering to sell them a copy of their deed and a related “property profile” for $83 — when they can get the same documents for free locally.

The Northern Essex District Registry of Deeds office issued a Registry Consumer Alert after learning of a recent letter titled “Deed Processing Notice” mailed by Property Transfer Services to area homeowners. The letter resembles a bill and lists a “Compliance Response Date” for sending the check with a special form to be returned in an enclosed envelope.

“At first glance, it looks very official,” Iannuccillo said in an interview yesterday.

“But I think it’s a scam. Are you going to pay $83 for something you can get for free on-line from your personal computer? Of course not. Unfortunately, if you look at it real quickly, I can see how somebody might just send away for the information. I plan on calling the police chiefs and making them aware of the this,” he said.

“We’ve heard from about a dozen people. A Lawrence resident who came in the other day to get a new deed provided us with the letter. We also got a call from an attorney who represents an elderly Methuen client. It appears this company is targeting homeowners in all of our communities,” he said.

Iannuccillo, who is concerned that senior citizens could be potential victims, took steps yesterday to alert the public by having a bulletin posted on the registry’s website

“The registry’s notice is informing homeowners that they can print their deed for free from the website or contact the registry’s new Customer Service Desk for a free certified copy of their deed, which we can mail to them,” he said.

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