Recently, I assisted a client with some estate planning that involved putting the principal residence into a trust. About a month later, she contacted me regarding a notice that she received in the mail that purported to be from the U.S. government in Washington, D.C., asking her to pay $80.00 regarding the deed that we recently filed. The letter looked official, was from Washington D.C., and knew where she had recorded a deed. Just before she sent the check in, she contacted me because something didn't seem right regarding the notice, particularly that I hadn't told her to expect it.
My response was to encourage the client to discard the notice, as we can provide a copy of the deed for a minimal copying charge, or the client can go the register of deeds and make a copy for a similar minimal charge. I then dug a little deeper and found out that this is a prevalent scam. Consumer Reports, as well as multiple state Attorney Generals, have written about this scam, and some of the perpetrators have been charged. If you receive such a notice, at a minimum discard it, or, if you feel so inclined, provide it to your state attorney general so they can decide whether the sender can/should be prosecuted.
This blog is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship or provide legal advice. Please contact the author if you have any questions or comments regarding the subject matter.