JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Madison County probate judge, as well as authorities in Jackson County are urging local residents not to fall for a solicitation scam trying to sell property deeds.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office posted images of the document, which states as a recommendation that “all homeowners obtain a copy of their property assessment profile,” which would include a copy of their current grant, deed or other record of title.

A service fee of $109 is listed on the notice and requests a response by January 6, 2023.

(Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office)

Despite the document looking legitimate, authorities say the county’s Probate Office can provide all of the information it promises, but will never mail out a request like this with a fee and “respond by” date.

Madison County probate judge Frank Barger told News 19 that this solicitation scheme has been widespread for quite sometime.

‘’We see letters that have been brought to my attention from companies that will pull deeds and send them for exorbitant amounts of money, hundreds of dollars saying you need a copy of your deed,” Barger explained. “Your closing attorney would have given you a copy of your deed when you closed, it would be of record with this court and should you ever need a copy, get one by coming to our office. They are only a dollar per page and we can even facilitate that via phone call or email with the consumer.” 

Andy Wise, a consumer investigator based in Tennessee says that the problem has been that the local property clerks that are charged with securing your property deed fail to block others from accessing your property information.

“The variations that you’re dealing with in Huntsville with the scam letter it’s trying to capitalize on two things; one citizens ignorance of public records and the fact that their property deed is a public record and two; public access,” said Wise.  

Many elderly residents in both Madison and Jackson counties have reportedly been a victim of this deed solicitation scam. Wise says to avoid being scammed call the local probate judge who may not charge a fee, nor will they bother to send you a letter asking for your profile information. 

“Anytime you receive an unsolicited letter like this from a third party insisting that you pay for access to something that is public that you can either get access for free with the local property assessor, it is a scam every time,” said Wise.  

Residents are asked to not respond or pay any company.

For questions or concerns, homeowners can contact the Probate Office at 256-532-3330.