New Scam Regarding Registry of Deeds

March 23rd, 2015 by beasleyferber

It seems like it is every day that we hear of another scam to defraud people.   Unfortunately, a new one has become rampant, and it involves the Registry of Deeds.  All documents, including deeds, that are recorded with the Registry are a matter of public record.  It is necessary that Registry records be open to the public.  This is because whenever property is being sold or mortgaged, a title search needs to be done.  A title search is a thorough review of the history of a deed, to make sure that the seller or borrower truly owns the property, and that the property is not subject to any claims or liens.  In the past few years, computer technology has made Registry research much easier than it used to be.  In the old days, you had to physically go to the Registry in order to do research.   Now, almost all Registry records are on line, and therefore available 24/7.  This makes Registry research much faster and easier.

As we all know, however, technology has a down side.  Scam artists have taken to looking at the Registry records to look for deeds that have recently been recorded.  These people then send a letter to the person who has purchased or obtained the property telling them that it is extremely important for them to have a copy of their deed.  They then offer to get that copy for a fee of $83.  The letter they send is made to look important and official, like it came from a government agency.   While it is true that everyone should have a copy of his or her deed, you SHOULD NOT pay this company $83.00 — or any amount — for that matter.  In New Hampshire, you can obtain deed records for $2.00 for the first page and $1.00 for each additional page.  Most deeds are only two pages long, so the total cost for a copy is a mere $3.00.  So, in New Hampshire, the company that is offering to get your deed for $83.00 is making an $80.00 profit, and is cheating you out of $80.00. ( To add insult to injury, in Massachusetts, you can print deeds from the Registry web sites at no charge!)

We do not know if this scam is, technically, against the law, though it certainly should be!  Anyone who gets such a letter should report it to the Consumer Protection division of the Attorney General’s office.  In New Hampshire the number is 603-271-3641 and   in Massachusetts it is 617-727-3265.

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