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County Clerk warns of deed scam


HUDSON—Any Columbia County resident who wants a copy of their deed can get it from the County Clerk’s Office, usually for less that $10, and should steer clear of a recent letter offer.
Several county residents contacted the County Clerk’s Office after receiving an unsolicited letter in the mail from New York Record Retrieval, Inc., offering to sell a certified copy of their deeds for the “low” price of $59.50 each, according to a press release from County Clerk Holly Tanner.
“The letter is very specific because deed information is public record, so they will have your address, the book and page of your specific deed and even the date that your deed was recorded at the County Clerk’s office,” Clerk Tanner said in the release.
She warned residents not to be fooled by this scam.
A deed copy can be obtained from the clerk’s office for 65 cents per page. A certified copy is an additional $5.
Residents should not spend $59.50 for a copy of their deed, she continued.
This is a scam that has been going on for some time around the state. Legislation, supported by Senator Steve Saland (R-41st), now requires these companies to state in their letter that certified copies of deeds can be obtained for a small fee from the county clerk, but that text is at the bottom of the letter and some residents may miss it, said Ms. Tanner.
A typical deed is 4 or 5 pages, and the cost, even with a certification fee of $5, would rarely be more than $10, according to Ms. Tanner.   
The clerk advises residents who receive the letter to throw it away.
Residents who need a copy of their deed, or who have questions about their deeds, can contact the county clerk’s office at (518) 828-3339 or via email at htanner@govt.co.columbia.ny.us.
The office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.    

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