Schenectady County

Schenectady County clerk warns of deed scam

The Schenectady County clerk warned residents today not to fall for a mail-solicitation offering cer
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The Schenectady County clerk warned residents today not to fall for a mail-solicitation offering certified copies of property deeds.

At best, John Woodward said, the offer is a grossly overpriced service; at worst, it’s a scam. Nonetheless, Woodward said he is asking the state attorney general’s office to look into the matter.

A spokesman for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said that office is looking into the situation.

The mailing offers certified copies for $59.50, with a second copy for $19.50.

Deeds are housed at the clerk’s office, where certified copies are available for just $5, Woodward said.

“It may not be illegal, but it’s so unfair to charge that much more for something that you can get at your local county clerk’s office,” Woodward said.

The mailings, from a company calling itself New York Record Retrieval, began arriving in Schenectady County mailboxes Wednesday, and Woodward’s office began getting calls from concerned recipients almost immediately.

The letters include proper names, addresses and accurate dates for when the property owner’s’ deed was filed. It also calls the document an important one to have on hand.

The fee, the letter states, includes postage and handling, location and retrieval of the data.

A phone number provided in the letter goes to a voice mail, where a female voice notes they are not affiliated with any state or government agency. They also note that the copy is not something owners must have, but something that the company could provide. That distinction is not included in the mailing.

A message left at the number was not immediately returned.

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