We recently had a few clients call because they received what looked like an invoice from their “Local Records Office”, billing them for a copy of the deed to their property. Beware! This is a scam!
The average person could be alarmed and feel compelled to act quickly upon receiving one of these in the mail. The outside of the envelope states, in all CAPS, “IMPORTANT PROPERTY INFORMATION RESPOND PROMPTLY.” There is even a return address, to the "Local Records Office" in Annapolis. Seems legitimate, right?
As you move to the right side of the envelope, there is a box warning of a $2,000 fine, five years imprisonment for interfering or obstructing with delivery of this letter. Yikes! This must be one important document inside. The warning is so strong, you may even fail to notice the line below, “THIS IS NOT A GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT.”
You finally open the envelope. Inside looks like a plain old bill for your property. You go through the motions, as you do anytime you receive a bill. You're not thrilled about owing money, but ultimately you want to pay it quickly to avoid any issues or additional penalties.
Many of our clients are being scammed by this agency. If you read the fine print, also in all caps, at the bottom of the document, you will see it says, “THIS OFFER SERVES AS A SOLICITING FOR SERVICES AND NOT TO BE INTERPRETED AS BILL DUE . . .THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED, UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.”
Before you write that check, give Altman & Associates a call. We can help you determine whether or not you need to respond.