Information offered is readily available online
By Dave Russell
The Jackson County Register of Deeds office is warning residents about letters they might receive from a company based in California offering property records for money.
The company, Property Profile Inc., uses open records laws to obtain names and addresses of recent home buyers.
The homeowners receive a letter that looks like a bill – complete with a respond by date and a “detach and mail” stub – in exchange for a “Property Assessment Profile” related to the recent purchase.
A letter provided to the Herald by the deeds office lists the company as Property Profile Inc., of Glendora, California.
The letter proclaims in large, bold letters “RECORDED DEED NOTICE,” and requests a service fee of $86 that can be paid online, via phone or by mail.
In smaller print, it states the “service” is not associated with any governmental agency.
“The information they have on the notices can be pulled off of the Register of Deeds website and the Land Records/Mapping website,” said Shandra Sims of the Jackson County Register of Deeds office. “It is all public information and free on the websites.”
To further make the mailing look official, the outside of the envelope states, “WARNING: $2,000 FINE, 5 YEARS IMPRISONMENT, OR BOTH FOR ANY PERSON INTERFERING OR OBSTRUCTING WITH DELIVERY OF THIS LETTER U.S. MAIL TTT.18.CODE.”
Customer Service Representative Sarah, who would not give a last name, answered a phone call to the toll-free number last Thursday.
Property Profile, Inc. is a nationwide company in business for 9 and 1/2 years, she said.
When asked what a customer would get for $86, she said, “It’s a property assessment profile, it’s all the information on the property compiled in one report. If you don’t want the service, then all you have to do is throw away the letter. There is no obligation whatsoever, as it states in the letter.”
A Google search on “property assessment profile” reveals warnings from Registers of Deeds, police departments and consumer groups across the country warning of the solicitation. Many of them refer to it as a scam.