Putnam County Recorder Jeannette Summitt reported a property deed scam to the Indiana Attorney General's office Friday.
Summitt had received phone calls from people telling her a company called the National Deed Service in Northbrook, Ill. contacted them.
The letter begins with the person's name and address and has the Putnam County Recorder with a document number listed.
It states, "The U.S. Government Federal Citizen Information Center website recommends that property owners should have an official or certified copy of their deed. If you don't already have this important document, you may obtain one now. This document provides evidence that your property was transferred to you."
It goes on to say, "To obtain a Certified Copy of your Deed, complete the order form below and return it in the enclosed postage paid envelope with your payment of $69.50 which includes location, retrieval, postage and handling or fill in the credit card information below and either mail or fax your order to 888-480-1370."
A second certified copy is offered for an additional $20.
Summitt told the Banner Graphic, that the copy of the letter she received from a local resident could be obtained from her office for a $6 fee.
"We only charge $1 per page, so for instance, the deed listed on this letter would only cost $6, not $69. This is a scam and I don't want to see people get burned by it," Summitt said.
The letter looks official and states that National Deed Service is not affiliated with any governmental agency. It also says that many government records are available free or at a nominal cost from government agencies.
"People can be very confused by this and fall for it. This letter is not legitimate," added Summitt.
She is waiting to hear back from the Attorney General's office.
In the meantime, she is preparing to turn on a security alert in her software system. This would notify any property owner with a registered deed of any activity on their account.
"For instance, if family members were trying to change a deed for a parent's property and the parents were not aware, they would receive notice that a transaction occurred about their property," said Summitt.
She will have more information available on this security measure soon.
If you have received a letter or have questions about getting copies of your property deed, contact the Putnam County Recorders Office at 765-653-5613 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Recorders office is located in the Putnam County Courthouse in Room 25.