NORWICH – As soon as Norwich resident Joan Spicer opened an envelope addressed in her name from a company called New York Record Retrieval, Inc., she recognized what it was: a scam.
“I could feel my blood pressure go up,” she said.
For $59.95, the company offered to send a certified copy of a deed recorded by Spicer with the Chenango County Clerk in 2008, something she herself could easily obtain for just a few dollars. While she recognized it as a scam, she was immediately concerned that other seniors might be taken in by the letter, especially those who were concerned about leaving their estate in order.
The letter certainly looked official, containing not only the actual record number of the deed Spicer filed with the county clerk’s office last year, but even referencing a federal website which reportedly recommends that property owners obtain a certified copy of their deed. There were also disclaimers that the company was not affiliated with the State of New York and that the same information could be obtained from the clerk’s office.
Spicer’s concern is that seniors who receive the letter will treat it like a bill and pay it without question.
“How slimy can you get?” she said, voicing her opinion of people who would target the elderly in such a way.
Not one to stay silent, Spicer took copies of the letter to the Chenango County Clerk, the Norwich City Police Department, the postmaster and her bank. Each of these agencies, she said, was as concerned as she was.
The Chenango County Clerk’s office took action immediately. Shortly after Spicer’s visit they not only issued a press release warning residents of the scam, but also alerted the New York State Attorney General’s office...