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Offer for ‘certified copy’ of your deed is likely a scam

By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law | Oct 21, 2021

Eric Feichthaler

Mr. Feichthaler:

I recently purchased a home and received a letter a week later. The letter said that, for $99, I could get a certified copy of my deed for the house. Is this something I need? Also, the letter had the spelling of my name wrong, does this mean my deed is wrong?

— George F.

Dear George:

When you purchased your home, the deed transferring title to you is recorded in the county records. Since this a public record, anyone can see that you purchased the home. Businesses like this watch the county clerk’s office every day to see what deeds are recorded, then send the letter offering a copy of the deed.

Although they actually will get you a copy of the deed, this practice, if not a scam, is misleading at a minimum. The law firm or title company that handled your closing will provide you a copy of the recorded deed, along with your owner’s title policy. And, as a practical matter, even if you had no copy of the deed at all, as long as it is recorded with the clerk’s office, you don’t need it.

As for the name being spelled incorrectly, this company likely sends out hundreds of letters every day, so I suspect that precision is not a top priority. You should check your closing documents to be sure your name is correct. If it is not, let the closing agent know that it requires correction.

In the meantime, save your $99 for something a lot more fun than a worthless piece of paper. If you ever do receive something in the mail and you are unsure whether it is legitimate, you can always seek professional counsel.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 33 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Historical Museum, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for over 20 years, and they have four children together. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

Mr. Feichthaler can be reached at eric@capecoralattorney.com, or (239) 542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.