County clerk warns residents about mailing scheme

While many people are hoping to avoid being scammed over the phone, there is still one method that is being used by some to dupe people into sending their money.The mailbox.Nolan County Clerk Pat McGowan wants to make the public aware of a scheme that tries to confuse people. Property Transfer Services, based out of Wilmington, Delaware, has recently restarted their campaign of mailing out Deed Processing Notice letters to people within the county. The letter, which resembles that of a bill, offers a due date in which an $83 processing fee must be sent to the company. The amount covers the costs of obtaining a copy of a person's current deed grant and property profile. According to the letter, "a property profile provides a wealth of information useful to understanding a subject property's makeup. This report includes the property address, owner's name, comparable values, and legal description or parcel identification number. This report will return all pertinent property and owner information for the designed property."The letter then goes on to list public information about the property, such as the purchase/transfer date, land value ID, square footage, and other details. Property Transfer Services then promises that by sending the invoice with the money, the documents can be received within 21 business days.They also promise that if the "request for deed and property profile cannot be obtained, [the] processing fee will be immediately refunded." However, the next sentence goes on to state that they are not affiliated with the county or any government agencies."This offer serves as a solicitation for services," thus proving that residents do not have to send any money. The company adds that they have not even been approved or receive endorsements from any government agency."This company is in business to make money," said County Clerk Pat McGowan in an email statement. "Their letter makes it sound like people are required to comply with their request by sending them $83.00 to purchase a copy of a deed."McGowan went on to say that residents can actually purchase a copy of their deed in the County Clerk's office--located on the first floor of the Nolan County Courthouse--at $1.00 per page. On the second page of the letter toward the end of the correspondence, it reiterates the fact that people can go to their county clerk office to obtain a copy of their property deed."This letter pops up on an average of once a year," added McGowan, proving that the county is aware of the situation. However, she hopes to inform citizens that they are under no obligation to send the money to the company and can take part in an easier, inexpensive and local means to obtain the documents.