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Avoid deed scams - go straight to county site

August 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A few weeks ago Eyewitness News warned you about a new scam. That report caught the eye of one state legislator who introduced a bill to stop the scam. That bill is now about to be signed into law. Here's what it means for consumers.First off, it should mean you will not be receiving any more of those official-looking letters trying to get you to spend a lot of money for something you already have or can get on your own. Or at worst, the letter will be more obvious that it is a scam.

"The goal is to put them out of business," said California State Assemblyman Ted Lieu (D-Torrance).

Lieu is fed up with official-looking letters going out to Southern California homeowners.

"We had homeowners being scammed out of hundreds of dollars for getting a document that they really don't need, because they probably already have it in their files, and two, that they can get it for about $10 instead of paying $200 for it," said Lieu.

The letter from the Title Compliance Office, which doesn't exist officially, is trying to get you to use their services to get a grant deed for your home.

The letter makes it sound like your home could go into foreclosure without the deed.

But by signing up you'll have to pay $157 or more, and they want you to act right away.

"My first impression was like, 'Oh my God, what is this?' I mean, is this for real or is this a scam?" said Tujunga resident Cecilia Lawshe.

Lawshe got one of the letters and yes, it is a scam.

That's why Lieu wrote the bill that just got passed by the state senate that makes it illegal to send out these deceptive and misleading letters. And if they choose otherwise ...

"This law says if you're going to send this letter from now on, you have to put on there in big, bold type that this is not government-approved or government-authorized letter, and you have to tell the homeowner that they can get it from the county assessor's for about $10," said Lieu.

The bill is expected to be signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the next week or two.


If you think you need a copy of your grant deed, you can get one through one your county's website.


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