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RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- Attorney General Mark R. Herring is warning Virginia property owners to be cautious of companies offering to sell them a copy of the deed to their home.

Officials said homeowners throughout the state of Virginia have been getting official looking letters, often titled as "Deed Processing Notice," that offer to sell homeowners a copy of their deed for $83.

The letters are written in such a way that may lead homeowners to believe they must comply by a certain date, according to officials.

"Even though these letters look like official notices, they are actually solicitations and should be treated as such," Attorney General Herring said. "Most home and property owners will receive a copy of their deed at the time of purchase, but if a deed is lost or needs to be replaced, county clerks can often do so at a much lower price. Consumers should read these letters carefully and know they are under no obligation to take action by any artificial deadline."

Herring warns homeowners they are under no obligation to pay these entities or to purchase a copy of their deed. Officials said, copies of deeds are usually available from the local clerk of court at a much lower rate than what is stated in the letters.

Officials said copies of deeds, which are usually between two and three pages typically cost about $0.50 per page, plus $2 for a certified copy.

Homeowners should check with their local court however to confirm prices.

If you have a consumer complaint or believe you have been a victim of fraud or another consumer crime, call the Virginia Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-552-9963 or visit http://www.ag.virginia.gov to fill out an online complaint.

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