(Photo courtesy of Winnebago County Recorder’s office. Redacted for privacy.)

Spring is around the corner, and with that, the prospect of more property sales. This also means increased chances for fraudulent activity from entities claiming to be legitimate real estate or home deed record keepers.

On February 28, 2024 the above postcard was sent to a resident in Winnebago County. The Iowa County Recorders Association confirmed that this postcard is false and is not connected to a government entity in any way. A similar letter from “County Deed Records” circulated in Iowa in the spring of 2023. Similar letters and postcards have been sent to homes across the United States as far back as 2019, and some cases, may note the homeowner’s mortgage lender and ID. Examples of similar cases can be found in a news story from 2019 in Southwest Florida HERE, in 2022 in this Utah news story, and in Iowa in 2023. Now, a similar message has resurfaced in Iowa as a postcard.

If you come across a postcard or message like the above photo DO NOT RESPOND to the message.

  • Do not pay
  • Do not call
  • Do not go to the website
  • Do not deposit voucher/ check
  • Do not return any mail requests

This year’s fraudulent postcard appears to be from an organization called “County Deed Records/ Home Warranty Division” and claims, “This is your Warranty Replacement notice advising you to contact our offices so you do not have a lapse in coverage…” They further request immediate action to contact them immediately or be “left vulnerable to expensive repairs and/or product replacement.” The Iowa County Recorders Association in partnership with Iowa Land Records confirmed that this information is not associated with County Recorders.

Fortunately, in this case, the resident came into the Winnebago County Recorder’s office with questions before taking any action. If you or someone you know has received a postcard and/or letter claiming to be from the County Deed Records/Home Warranty Division, please DO NOT RESPOND to the request in any way.

Winnebago County Recorder, Shanna Eastvold, had this to say about the fraudulent postcard,

 “Thankfully the individual, in this case, came to our office to ask questions before taking action. This postcard was NOT sent by County Recorders. Fraudulent activity is getting smarter. We will always do our best to answer your questions, especially when it comes to your safety.”

In the state of Iowa, the County Recorders are the stewards of real estate records. Mail and other messages from other entities may be false and should always be reviewed with caution. If you’re ever unsure of how you should proceed, please contact your County Recorder for more information.

To find your local County Recorder, go here.