The “Title Compliance Board” Mail Scam

image I received a letter today from the “Title Compliance Board – Department of Records Retrieval”.  It looks pretty official and listed my property’s Assessor’s ID on the letter and there wasn’t any “we’re not affiliated with the government” notices on the page as required by law.  So far so good.

It said that if I wasn’t in possession of my property’s title deed, it was a critical document that I must have and I had until April 6th (1 week) to request a copy for the processing charge of $79.  Wow.  Sounds important!  How nice that they would apparently provide the service for sending a certified copy of the deed from the County Recorder’s office.

SPIDEY SENSES… TINGLING…
Frankly, I was pretty sure that I had this locked away in my paperwork box but I figured, this couldn’t hurt to have.  So I signed the document, slapped a stamp on the envelope and started making for my checkbook.  The problem was… something didn’t seem right.  The more I thought about it the more my Spidey senses started tingling and so I did a quick search on “Los Angeles Title Compliance Board”.

Lo and behold, look at what I turned up:

A REALTOR SPEAKS ON THE “TITLE COMPLIANCE BOARD”
It’s an article from Tracy King, a Pasadena-based Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent… oops.  I mean “REALTOR”.  And it points out the embarrassing fact that not only is this some sort of perverse scam going on with this “Title Compliance Board”, (which turns out to be a completely private company and in no way affiliated with the city/county) and that you can order a copy of your deed for $6 on the Internet from the LA Recorder at http://www.lavote.net/RECORDER/Document_Recording.cfm. In fact, if you ever need your deed for a sale, your Real Estate Agent or the Title Company can get it for you.

Okay.  On one hand, I wanna pat myself on the back for at least having the presence of mind to check this thing out before I wrote a check.  On the other hand, I also wanna slap myself.  I was almost easy pickings for some predatory scam.

Thanks Tracy.  No one else bothered to write about this in all of the Internet, but you did and provided me with the warning I needed.  Good piece of sales/marketing for yourself too and as a salesperson, I salute that kind of sharp thinking.

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15 Responses to The “Title Compliance Board” Mail Scam

  1. Jeff says:

    Welcome to Ventura County. We must be in the high rent district since I just got a similar letter from TITLE COMPLIANCE BOARD with a Ventura post office box address. They want $139 for a certified copy of my deed. What\’s really interesting is in the body of their scam letter they say "The U S Government Federal Citizen Information Center recommends that property owners have an official copy of their deed". When I checked for the FCIC web site there was actually a consumer alert warning of this exact scam.Any owner can get a copy of their grant deed for $2 from the recorders office. For $5 they can have it stamped as a "certified copy".

  2. Ngoc-mai says:

    I got the exact same letter today August 6, 2009. "Title Compliance Board Records Retrieval Division, It asked for $139.00. The letter tells me to obatain the certified deed NOW.I am glad to find this posting. Thank you so much.WHAT A SCAM, HUH?

  3. Unknown says:

    I am going to call KCBS in Los Angeles try to get them to alert the public of this scam. I also got the $139.00 version. They included the "not a government agency" disclaimer at the bottom of the letter. I checked with the Los Angeles County Recorders office(562-462-2131) & spoke with a REAL PERSON within just a few minutes. I told them why I was calling & they said quite a few people were comming into the office with the same letter. They informed me if I wanted a copy just send a check with "No more than $10". The reason being it is $6 for the first page & $3 for any additional pages & $10 should cover it. They said they would mail it to me at NO COST!! ZEROBSZONE

  4. Aris says:

    I got mine in the mail yesterday (9-9-09) and they did ask for $139. We need to call this to the attention of the Attorney General, in Sacramento, CA. There are people out there that will be taken advantage of because this "looks official." Please, let\’s help those who believe they need to do this. These people need to be shut down–once and for all.

  5. Kathy says:

    I just got my notice in the mail today. The price is going up. Now they are asking for $159! It makes me angry that there are people who thrive on the insecurities of others–especially in this economy.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I got my letter today and it asked for $167.

  7. Mario says:

    I got a official looking letter today for $ 167.00. How come scams like that are not researched and reported.Anyone know where to report them?? Be aware of this scam Title compliance officeRecords retrievel divisionp.o. box 5980Riverside, CA 92517-5980800-481-0136

  8. james says:

    I got my notice on 4/28/2010. They are asking for $167.00 by May 24,2010. After reading this page I will not be sending any money and I want to see what will happen after May 24th.Who do you complain to? It came from Riverside Ca 92517.

  9. james says:

    Please Check out the BBB web site or google "title compliance board" THIS IS A SCAM.

  10. Kurt says:

    Yes people, this is what most people would consider a "scam". What part of this post\’s title, "Title Compliance Board Mail Scam" did you not understand?For those that did not bother checking out Tracy\’s web site, here\’s what she has to say on ths issue as a Realtor:When times get tough, some of the underemployed become more creative. Here is another small sting to watch out for from the Title Compliance Board, Department of Records Retrieval. For a mere $79.00, they will send you a certified copy of your deed from the County Recorder’s office. Great. They probably will send it to you, but you can order it for yourself for only $6.00!Just go to the link: http://www.lavote.net/RECORDER/Document_Recording.cfm for complete instructions. But the real question is, why? Your deed is on record with the County Recorder. If you decide to sell your house, the title company verifies your ownership during the escrow process. You don’t need to show anyone such records. Why else might you be required to prove your ownership? After a fire or some other disaster? Your insurance company already knows you own the property. In the off chance that you don’t have insurance (which is a problem you need to address), your only recourse is a Federal agency and they will verify your ownership. It’s not a bad idea to have the documentation on your property, but you received it when you bought the property. If you can’t find it, you can get a copy from your title company. Ask your Realtor who that was. Or ask me and I can look it up for you.Asking for a small amount like $79 is the easiest kind of scam to succeed at. They are providing a service, they are just creating a need that isn’t real for a document that is easy and cheap to obtain. It’s not illegal, really, just unnecessary. I’m sure you can find something useful to spend $79 on. Or put it in your piggy bank to add to your down payment fund.

  11. Ka says:

    5/11/2010 Just received a the "scam" letter with yet another new company name, Recording Compliance Board, Title Reconveyance Department P.O. Box 480501, Los Angeles, Ca. 90048 processing fee is $145.00. Guess they are going to play the odds and flood the homeowner market.. It is too bad they are not shut down, the wording could easily scare some folks into sending money. Have not seen anything on the news to warn people about this scam. The wording in the section NOTE: does imply a refund "If for any reason the Recording Compliance Board is unable to obtain a copy of the DEED OF FULL RECONVEYANCE" although it goes on to say "requests must be in writing via USPS & received before our processing service is complete." CYA language

  12. 10-6-10 I just received my scam letter with the company name, Recording Retrieval Division asking for $167.00 for an official certified copy of my grant deed. The return mailing address is Post Office Box 24040 Los Angeles, Ca 90024. This information about the scam needs to get out to the public and I do not know why the news media has not said something about it. I had to find out about this from the Internet. The only thing I can say is if in doubt about something check it out on the Internet you could save your self a lot of money like I did. The information I got on this web page was very helpful.

  13. 10-6-10 I just received my scam letter with the company name TITLE COMPLIANCE OFFICE asking for $167.00 for an official certified copy of my grant deed. The return mailing address is Post Office Box 24040 Los Angeles, Ca 90024. This information about the scam needs to get out to the public and I do not know why the news media has not said something about it. I had to find out about this from the Internet. The only thin I can say is if in doubt about something check it out on the Internet you could save your self a lot of money like I did. The information I got on this web page was very helpful.

  14. cathy says:

    I also received this letter -twice. The first time was about six months ago, but It seemed “off”. I held on to the letter for a few weeks, trying to think what to do. I checked my paperwork on the property, and realized this was a scam. The language used in this makes it sound official and urgent. I am furious that I received the letter again! More troublesome, is the fear-factor inherent in the wording. What about all those folks out there who don’t have “spidey-sense”? The unsuspecting and less-learned? The old-folks and the second language homeowners who are being threatened with this predatory mentality? A class-action cease and desist action? Can’t the BBB do more?

  15. John E says:

    Hi Folks

    Just to add my comments to update the page. It’s now 10/10/10 and sorting though my post found a similar letter from the so called “Title Compliance office”; looks very official but the whole process feels wrong. Isn’t there a law, of some kind, these people are breaking; those of us who are computer literate can search and find the scam details other are not so lucky. May be the letter(s) should be passed on to the police for further investigation.

    Regards John

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