If you’ve ever purchased a home, you may have noticed an increase in the amount of mail in your mailbox—especially junk mail.
As you sift through the coupons, offers and notices, it can be hard to tell what’s important and what’s a potential scam. You may even start to wonder if your bank sold your information to these third-party companies.
First of all, WaterStone Bank takes your privacy seriously: We never give out or sell customer information. The reason you’re suddenly flooded with junk mail is because your home purchase was recorded to a public database by the office of the register of deeds, which makes it easy for companies and scammers to get ahold of your information.
What is the register of deeds?
The register of deeds maintains a government database of real estate transactions, along with other information like corporation papers. In Milwaukee County, the Register of Deeds Office also provides certified copies of birth, death and marriage certificates. A key responsibility of the register of deeds is to authenticate records and keep an archive of important documents.
What does the register of deeds have to do with junk mail?
The register of deeds database contains public information about real estate transactions. This means the information is accessible to anyone who searches for it, including third-party companies interested in sending you coupons, offers, and in some cases, scams.
How can I tell if an offer is suspicious?
Unfortunately, scam offers in the mail are fairly common after you purchase a home. Be wary of any notice that offers to send you a copy of your deed for a fee. One local mail scam targeted new home buyers with an offer to purchase a copy of their property deed for $83—but that copy of your deed is usually sent to you for free after closing.
In general, you can toss any mailers that attempt to scare you into acting quickly. If a postcard urges you to call regarding a “time-sensitive matter,” look for fine print that says, “All information provided by the National Info Center” or “Not affiliated with, nor endorsed by WATERSTONE BANK.” These are telltale sign that the company found your information from public records.
What if I’m not sure?
When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact us or send a secure message through Digital Banking. We’re happy to help clarify any confusing mail regarding your recent home purchase.
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