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July 07, 2016

Councilman Bobby Henon warns of alleged deed scam in Philadelphia

Scammer allegedly charging hundreds of dollars for deed copying services

An entity posing as the City of Philadelphia Department of Records allegedly has been offering deed copying services – and charging hundreds of dollars in fees.

Councilman Bobby Henon's office alerted constituents to the alleged scam Thursday afternoon after receiving several calls and social media messages. Henon urged anyone possibly affected by the scam to contact his office.

His office also clarified that photocopies of any recorded document can be obtained at the Records Department for a nominal fee. Per Henon's office:

The City of Philadelphia Department of Records records deeds and keeps them on file once recorded. When someone records a deed, the original is provided to them by mail or pickup. There is no fee beyond the recording fee and transfer taxes paid at the time of recording. If someone wants a photocopy of any recorded document, that person can come to the Records Department and obtain a copy for a per page fee. This fee is nominal, not hundreds of dollars.

Henon spokeswoman Jolene Nieves Byzon said the city, including the District Attorney's Office, was investigating the matter, but she did not know the scope of the alleged scam.

"I don't know the extent," she said. "We're hoping that people will contact us and that we can share that information."

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

No one picked up the phone at the Records Department, which closed at 4 p.m.