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Scams have no season

December 20, 2013
The Daily News

It may be the Christmas holiday season, but some scammers aren't being very Christian lately.

They prove once again that these fast-talkers truly have no season.

In the Dickinson-Iron County area, the Michigan State Police at the Iron Mountain Post are warning residents of a Craig's List scam.

A person contacted a company on Craig's List regarding a job listing.

Without any application, background or interview, the subject was given the job.

The person was told to fill out financial paperwork including bank account and other financial account numbers. When the subject questioned this practice, the company representative became irate, rude, and hung up the telephone.

Police again warn residents not to give out financial information to sources they do not know or have not initiated contact with regarding these accounts.

Job applications do not include financial information like bank or financial accounts, officers said.

In Marinette Count, the Marinette County Register of Deeds Renee Miller cautions residents to beware of businesses that want to assist you in obtaining copies of land records.

Several Marinette County residents have recently received letters from a company which offers to help obtain property deeds and/or other records which may make up your property profile.

"Many times you hear of companies taking advantage of citizens and they need to know they do not need to send an $83 payment to get a copy of a deed, you can come into the Register of Deeds office and purchase one for about $2 to $3," Miller said.

These companies generally target new home owners or the elderly.

The company offers to complete a property profile for you for $83 and includes the property address, owner's name, comparable values, and legal description or parcel identification number. The property profile is already public information in the Register of Deeds office and residents can stop by to take a look for free.

The Property Transfer Services Co. out of Washington, DC, is not doing anything illegal, Miller said, when it charges $83 for its services to obtain public record copies.

The company has a disclosure on notices that it mails out to the public, saying it is not affiliated with any government agencies.

However, the Register of Deeds feels this type of solicitation is unethical.

"The citizens of Marinette County do not need to use these services," Miller said. "Your records are available immediately in the office at a fraction of the cost."

Most homeowners may already have the original deed when they purchased the property; if they have misplaced it, a copy can be purchased from the Marinette County Register of Deeds for $2 for the first page, plus $1 per each additional page.

Fees are governed by Wisconsin State Statute 59.42(2)(b). The number of pages per deed averages one to two pages.

"The Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association works hard to share information with citizens and has encountered many different companies offering the same service," Miller said.

The fine print on the letter states the offer serves as a solicitation for services and the resident is under no obligation to pay the amount stated.

Unfortunately, they mislead you into believing if you go to the county office, you can wait for hours, fill out forms, and pay fees, she said.

"If you need a copy of the deed to your property just come to our office, located on the first floor of the Marinette County Courthouse at 1926 Hall Ave in Marinette, we assist citizens immediately," Miller said. "There are no forms to fill out but there is a nominal fee for the copy."

 
 

 

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