Current Scam Affecting Michigan Citizens

by Jerrold Bartholomew

I recently received a letter offering a “Certified Copy” of the deed to my home. The offer explains that the Federal Citizen Information Center recommends that every home owner have a certified deed and that the National Deed Service could provide a deed for just $59.95. There actually is an article at the Federal Citizen Information Center recommending that everyone have a copy of the deed to their home, which can be found here. And indeed, for estate planning, medicaid planning, or asset protection planning, it is a good idea to have a copy of the recorded deed to your home on hand. As the Federal Citizen Information Center article notes:

When was the last time you couldn’t find an important paper you knew you had carefully put away? How do people decide where to store and keep such records? And how do they know what to keep, what to throw away, and when? Do you have an easy to figure out system you or a loved one can refer to in case of an emergency?

If you take a look at the Medicaid Checklist, you will see that gathering important information can be a big job.

But the National Deed Service price of $59.95 for a copy of your deed is outrageous. Even the Federal Citizen Information Center has a warning about the problem. A copy of your recorded deed is available at your local register of deeds for $1.00 per page or less. In most cases, that is going to be just $2.00. Melissa Devaugh of the Lapeer County Register of Deeds echoes the warning about this deed scam here:

This company is not affiliated with Lapeer County Government in any way. This company is using tactics to persuade you to pay an outrageous fee (a whopping $69.50) to them and in return they will provide you with a copy of your deed. Please understand this company MUST obtain the Certified Copy from the Lapeer County Register of Deeds. Once they receive the certified document from US, they in turn provide it to you for the $69.50! Don’t be fooled! If you need a copy of your deed, please call the Lapeer County Register of Deeds. We will be happy to provide you a certified copy at a low cost of $1.00 per page plus $1.00 for the certification…A MUCH LOWER COST THAN WHAT THIS COMPANY IS ASKING!

It is unfortunately the case that scams like the National Deed Service take place every day. And indeed, the scams are often much more damaging than $59.95. Many of the victims of the scams are the elderly who cannot afford the unnecessary loss. Asset protection planning can help seniors to avoid falling victims to this and other more serious scams.

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