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Deed letter is indeed a scam

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Beware of notices from Property Transfer Service, warns Carroll court official.

By Staff Reports

HILLSVILLE — Carroll County residents who receive a supposed “deed processing notice” from a company called Property Transfer Service should throw it in the trash, says the circuit court clerk.
Two citizens who received such a notice — one at the cost of $83  — brought the matter to the attention of Circuit Court Clerk Carolyn Honeycutt, wondering if they actually owed any money.
There are legitimate ways to receive copies of deeds from the circuit court, but the Property Transfer Service is not one of them, she said. The circuit court will mail copies for 50 cents a page, plus $1 for postage, for example.
Clerks can even e-mail deed information with the understanding that they will not be certified copies.
Recently, Carroll County Circuit Court partnered with a service called ClerkePass, an electronic service that allows persons to request documents in a digital format.
This has several benefits for the clerk’s office, Honeycutt explained. ClerkePass can access the information in about two minutes.
Looking up and pulling a deed by hand, for example, may take a clerk around 10 minutes, if they are not interrupted, she said. “So we’re saving eight minutes, and that’s critical in an office that’s understaffed.”
Other counties in Virginia also used this service and found it reliable, Honeycutt noted. The company keeps track of their transactions that use the court clerk’s office and shared the revenue.
The service also receives confirmation that the customer received the requested document.
Property Transfer Service, on the other hand, has never contacted Honeycutt to do business.
A few conscientious Carroll residents who received a deed processing notice in the mail from Property Transfer Service will likely be concerned that they owe the county or the company money.
Honeycutt has requested an investigation from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.
“My concern right now is the citizens don’t respond to this,” Honeycutt said. “Once you see the name Property Transfer Service, rip it in half and throw it in the trash.”

Citizens with questions can call the Carroll County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office at (276) 730-3070.