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County Recorder Alerts homeowners: Don't be swindled by solicitation companies

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WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County Recorder Julie Kalkbrenner alerts property owners not to be swindled by solicitation companies offering to provide them with a copy of their property deed. State Record Retrieval Board, a private solicitation company, sends direct-mail solicitations to homeowners seeking advance payment of $87 in the form of cash, check or credit card for the service of providing a certified copy of the homeowners' property deed. The company has been periodically targeting Kandiyohi County and surrounding area homeowners.

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The mailers warn that if you don't order a certified copy of your property deed by a certain date, you'll pay an additional $35 fee. The so-called "board" behind these letters isn't a government agency. And the St Paul address on the mailers is just one of their mail processing centers. The company is based in California. We have also seen this same type of ploy used by the National Deed Service, Inc.

If you receive this type of solicitation mailing, PLEASE regard it as junk mail. These solicitation companies collect an outrageously exaggerated fee from private citizens, then turn around and order a certified copy from the Recorders office for $10 which is the certified copy fee set by Minnesota Statute.

While the service of this type of company provides is not technically illegal, the letters are certainly misleading and a scheme to use public records for profit.

An internet search reveals links to numerous complaints filed against the company and other affiliated companies. The Better Business Bureau website shows a rating of F on a scale from A+ to F given to State Record Retrieval Board.

Homeowners need to know that evidence of their real estate ownership is secured by a permanently archived record in the County Recorders' office of the deed, or other type of document by which they acquired title to real estate property - it is not based on whether or not a property owner has a certified copy in their possession as the solicitation letters imply.

Certified copies of recorded real estate documents are rarely requested for purposes other than court proceedings, so in most cases, it is unnecessary for a homeowner to have possession of or pay $10 for a certified copy. The fee for a homeowner to obtain a plain photocopy of their property deed directly from the County Recorder's office is $1 per page.

Most property owners already have either the original or a photocopy of the deed provided when they purchased their home. If not, there is absolutely no need for them to worry. To obtain a copy, they can visit or call the Recorder's Office.

Kalkbrenner also wants citizens to be aware of the #1 tip on the Minnesota Attorney Generals website list of Top 20 Tips to Avoid Consumer Scams: Never disclose your credit card number, check routing information, or other banking information to telemarketers or other solicitors.

Anyone with questions or concerns can call the recorder's office at 320-231-6223.

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