County Clerk Dinolfo Warns Of Local Deed "Scam"
Wed, Aug 29 2012
Rochester -- Monroe County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo today warned Monroe County residents of another deed scam that has targeted new property owners. The County Clerk’s Office has been contacted by local residents who have received what appears to be an official letter from a company called “Local Records Office” which urges the owner to send $89.00 to the company for a copy of the property owner’s deed. The letter also indicates that the property owner should respond by a specific date. Equally disturbing is the misleading statement in the solicitation indicating that a copy of the deed can be obtained from a County Recorder (County Clerk’s Office) for a cost of “up to $89.00”.
County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo said, “Urging property owners to pay $89.00 for a copy of their deed is outrageous. Newly filed Monroe County deeds are available on-line and may be accessed from the property owner’s personal computer free of charge. For those requesting a copy of their deed from my office, the average copy charge is $1.30. The $89.00 fee charged by Local Records Office is absolutely unnecessary.”
Dinolfo has alerted residents of previous deed scams wherein companies sent letters to property owners to pay $59.50 for a certified copy of the deed to their home even though certified copies of deeds can be obtained from the County Clerk’s Office for a fraction of the price. As a result of that unscrupulous practice, legislation was enacted to require anyone soliciting property owners in New York State to purchase certified copies of deeds to include specific notice that certified copies of property deeds are available at the County Clerk’s Office for a small fee. The current scam appears to be an attempt to circumvent the law as “copies” are being offered as opposed to “certified copies” which are referenced in the law.
Dinolfo added, “In these challenging economic times, it's unfortunate that this company is trying to take advantage of homeowners by asking them to pay $89.00 for a copy of their deed. Solicitations from firms such as Local Records Office simply prey upon new property owners. Residents should ignore these letters and can rest assured that these records are safely on file in the County Clerk’s Office and that no harm will occur if they do not respond to this intimidating letter.”
Local Records Office indicates that its business address is “911 Central Ave #114, Albany, New York 12206” which is the address of an operating UPS Store.
Dinolfo has urged Local Records Office to stop its misleading practices and has contacted the New York State Attorney General’s Office for further review.