Recently, many of our clients have received solicitations from companies offering to obtain certified government records. The solicitations often look like they are from an official government office. The letter usually states that the government requires the consumer to retain certified copies of certain records, like the deed to their home. The letter goes on to state that the easiest way to get these records is by sending the company a fee – usually between $50 and $100 – and the company will send the records.
What these letters completely fail to mention is that consumers can usually obtain certified copies of government records, such as deeds, directly from local, county or state government offices and that the fee is usually quite nominal – often only $1 per page. For more information about which office to contact for specific records, contact your County Clerk or look under “Government” in the phone book.
How to Protect Yourself
Besides being overcharged, consumers who respond to these solicitations may be at risk for identity theft. If you provide personal information or bank account or credit card numbers to someone you are not familiar with, your information may be compromised or sold. As a general rule, you should never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited letter or email.