Residents warned about Property Deed scam

ELIZABETH – Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi has warned home owners and owners of commercial property in the county to beware of people who offer to sell them a certified copy of the deed to their property.

“Various municipalities in Union County have alerted me that their residents have been contacted by a company that offers to sell the property owner a copy of their deed,” said Rajoppi. “These offers are not necessary. Don’t be fooled. Normally, you or your attorney already have a copy of your deed.”

“It is advisable to have a copy of your deed stored safely with your other important documents,” said Rajoppi. “But if you misplace or lose your deed, you can readily obtain a certified copy from my Office usually for less than $20. Scam artists are charging $83 or more for the same deed. The price for a certified deed is mandated by the state and is a per-page fee.”

In 2007, Rajoppi filed a formal complaint with the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General, citing the solicitation of homeowners to purchase a deed at an exorbitant, excessive cost. Consumers who receive solicitations to buy a deed are invited to contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at 973-504-6200 or 800-242-5846 to file a complaint.

A bill is pending in the State Legislature to regulate deed procurement services. The legislation is Senate Bill S-1870 and Assembly Bill A-2386. This bill requires non-governmental entities providing deed procurement services to make certain disclosures when soliciting clients.

If you can’t find your deed, call the Office of the Union County Clerk at 908-527-4787; visit www.ucnj.org/government/county-clerk; or go directly to the County Clerk’s Office, located in the county courthouse at 2 Broad St., Elizabeth, where you can easily obtain a certified copy of your deed for the nominal, state-mandated fee: $8 for the first page and $2 for subsequent pages.

Property owners are advised to be wary of people purporting to sell “actual” deeds. Only the County Clerk’s Office has the real deed to your property.

COMMENTS