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Homeowners warned about deed scam

HAMBURG — Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs has cautioned all Erie County property owners to watch for misleading solicitations offering to sell them certified copies of their deeds. Record Transfer Services, a company based out of California, is soliciting and overcharging homeowners for this service by as much as 1,000 percent, Jacobs reported.

“I want to inform the citizens of Erie County that the entities marketing such requests are not at all related to the county clerk’s office or any other department inside Erie County government,” he said. “If you receive one of these letters, you should disregard it. A certified copy of your deed is always available from the county clerk’s office.”

Jacobs said that this type of solicitation looks like an official government notice, contains public information about the property and instructs the property owner to include payment of $83. Upon payment, the citizen will receive a copy of his or her current deed, which is not a certified copy.

“Deeds for every parcel of land in Erie County are recorded and maintained on permanent record at the county clerk’s office,” Jacobs said. “Once placed on record and processed, the original deed is returned to the property owner or their attorney.”

Jacobs said that residents may contact his office for assistance with any deed-related questions, by calling 858-8785. Certified copies may be obtained directly from his office, located at Old County Hall, 92 Franklin St., Buffalo, NY 14202, for a fee.

“These companies are misleading property owners into paying an excessive amount for a record they can easily obtain for less than one-tenth of the cost,” he said. “This type of solicitation is a disingenuous way to conduct business. The clerk’s office is the only source to obtain a certified copy of their deed.”

Property owners may request a copy by mail; include name, property address and phone number, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and a check or money order for $10, made payable to the Erie County clerk. A deed request form is available on the clerk’s website at www.erie.gov/clerk/deedrequest.
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