Scammers will try to pull one over on people every chance they get. Real estate scams are unfortunately common because they can allow a person to get a huge financial payoff.
One of the most common real estate scams, according to the Cuyahoga County Consumer Affairs, is a deed scam.
How it works
The scam involves a letter that looks very official. It informs the homeowner that they must request a copy of their property deed. The letter has warnings that this is the only chance and the only way to prove ownership of the property.
It also tells the person that he or she must pay to get a copy of the deed and gives a deadline.
The reason this is a scam is that everything about it is untrue. Property owners can get a copy of their deed for free from the county in which they live. Most counties will even offer an option to get it online. (In Ohio, this is a function of the county recorder, which is where deeds and other documents are recorded).
Even if the homeowner needs a certified copy of a deed, he or she can get it from the county recorder for a small fee. The scam usually asks for a large fee.
The scam letter does usually contain wording saying it is not from the government, but it is usually in small print. The look of the letter makes people think it is official and serious. It is very easy to fall for such a scam if a person is unaware of it. Anyone who receives such a letter can contact the county recorder’s office about it. It is wise to be skeptical about any request to send money to a non-government address for anything related to a home deed.