FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From: Mary Ellen Miller
Date: March 1, 2023
(Jonesborough, Tenn.) — Washington County’s Register of Deeds Teresa Bowman has a message for all of the radio and TV programs that advertise pricey deed and title services.
“This has got to stop,” Bowman said. “They are trying to take advantage of our veterans.”
The Register of Deeds would like our veterans and all citizens to heed this warning: “Please be aware that you may be contacted by private companies to provide you a copy of your deed for a much higher fee than may be obtained from our office,” she said.
In terms of recording the veterans’ discharge papers, “All they need to do is bring their discharge papers in here and we will record them free, scan them, and give them back their original,” Bowman said. She added that the discharge record is the only record that is not made public since social security numbers are on it.
The Register of Deeds also offers a free, property fraud alert program. Bowman says scam companies are out there trying to charge $80-$100 for a property monitoring service that her office provides to all Washington County citizens for free. She mentioned an elderly resident who recently gave the scammers $80 before checking with the Register of Deeds.
“I wish she had called us first. That’s a lot of money for someone on a fixed income and it’s getting worse,” she says. “If you stop by and sign up with our office, we will provide you alerts free, anytime anyone records anything in your name.” Bowman says the scammers get away with this because of the fine print found at the bottom of their documents. The highest price a citizen will pay the county is a $1.00 per-page copy fee.
Meanwhile, Washington County Veterans Service Officer Dawn Lucier says her office is glad to work with local veterans advising them of their many, free benefits. Like Bowman, Lucier says “beware” when it comes to scammers.
“Some of them say ‘we’ve got your six’ but they do not have your back. They actually charge to file claims that we provide as a free-of-charge service,” Lucier says.
She says the main question veterans should ask of any organization is, “Are they accredited through the V.A.?” She says if they are accredited, they will be glad to show proof.
Both Bowman and Lucier said that the county is happy to provide free services to veterans because ultimately it is a “win-win.” The veterans are served, and the local economy benefits when veterans go out and spend money in restaurants and area businesses. Bowman’s office even provides a “Washington County Veterans Honors Program” listing of area restaurants and businesses that give discounts to veterans.
For more information, please visit https://www.washingtoncountytn.org/230/Register-of-Deeds. For specific questions about Veterans Services please call 423-753-1628.