Home buyer beware: 'It looks like an official document'

BOISE, Idaho - Buying a home is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Now, there could be one more thing to worry about.

"They say they're in tow so it's believable, it looks very official," new home owner Kristin Hunter said.

A few weeks after buying her first home, an $86 bill showed up in the mail. It came from an outfit called Records Retrieval Department.

"There's a lot of different people who want to stick their hand in your cookie jar when you buy a house so I just thought hey... this is just another bill that comes with being a home owner.. you know," Hunter said.

The notices have property specific information along with legal jargon. There's also an ID number and bar code assigned to the property.

"It does have a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo at the bottom but you know what.. so did all the papers for buying this house. I didn't understand half of it but we got a house after we wrote a check," Hunter said.

A closer look at the bottom and you'll see it says; Records Retrieval Department is not affiliated with the state or county recorder. It also says; this is not a bill it is a solicitation.

"It looks like an official document," realtor Jacque Neef-Mayo said.

Mayo wants to get the word out to home buyers that they don't need to pay Records Retrieval Department $86.

"Usually you get a deed after you close on a house, they (the county) send it to you automatically. If they don't your realtor can get it. You can go to the Recorder's Office and maybe they'll charge you a small fee."

In the end Hunter did not fall for it.

"I'm glad I called the title company and my mom who's an ex-realtor and everybody was saying, 'Hey.. this is bogus, don't pay it!" Hunter said.

The Truth Squad tracked down the address on the solicitation, it happens to be the UPS store on South Vista. Hunter has one last piece of advice for home buyers.

"Be very alert, you are extremely vulnerable. There's so much information being thrown at you. Double check, you're paying the realtor you're paying the title company, they're getting a nice check so use them," Hunter said.

If you walk into the Recorder's Office and buy a copy of your deed, it should cost between $3 and $25.


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