INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — You might have seen it in the mail — an official looking letter asking you for money to certify that you are the actual owner of your home. Don’t follow the instructions on the letter. It’s a scam.
When Mabel Shapiro saw the letter in her mailbox, she initially thought it came from the state. It had a Jefferson City, Missouri return address and the envelope appeared official.
It was a letter from Records Recovery Services asking her to send $87 for a copy of her deed, validating that her home was actually owned by her. Shapiro was immediately suspicious.
“I thought they were trying to steal my house if I don’t pay what they wanted,” she said.
Instead of sending the money, Shaprio paid a visit to the Jackson County Recorder of Deed’s office in Missouri and showed them the letter.
“They looked at it and said ‘Oh yeah, that’s a scam. Call the FBI,'” she said she was told.
So, Shapiro called the FBI.
Letters identical to the one she received have been mailed to homeowners across the country. A quick Google search showed warnings from county officials in multiple states telling people not to send any money to Records Recovery Services.
The company, which supposedly has an office in Jefferson City, Missouri, was not registered with the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office. Plus its offices in other states, almost always in state capitals, often track back to a post office box.
The letter Shapiro received contained multiple disclaimers stating that it is not a government agency, but if you don’t read the letter carefully, you could miss them.
Here’s the deal, no one needs to spend $87 for a copy of a deed. All you need to do is contact your county government and request one.
At the Recorder of Deed’s office in Jackson County, a deed will cost you between $2 to $3, depending on the number of pages.