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Clerk's Office
Property Information Scam

Before you pay a third party big money for your property information ...

Be warned: Cattaraugus County will never solicit you to try to sell you information regarding your property - and anybody who does probably doesn't have your best interest at heart.

Mail solicitations that sometimes look like a bill and sometimes look like a warning will try to separate you from $80 or more - in exchange for information you can get from the County Clerk's office for a few dollars. Sometimes these outfits will try to sell you a "property profile," while others will try to warn you that you are at risk if you don't have a copy of your deed.

These solicitations often come after an individual has acquired property. While not illegal, charging so much for something that may be as cheap as one dollar involves some dubious ethics.

"These deeds are public records, and they are readily available in our office," said County Clerk Alan Bernstein. "Most deeds cost $1.00 or $1.50 for a regular copy, or $5.00 for a certified copy. Plus, people who record a deed in our office get the original back for free in just a few weeks."

If you look closely, most of these notices will contain a disclaimer similar to the following statement: "This service is not affiliated with the county in which your deed is filed. It is not affiliated with any government agency. This offer serves as a solicitation for services and is not to be interpreted as a bill due. This service is not approved nor endorsed by any governmental agency. You are under no obligation to pay the amount stated unless you want the report."

The county's Real Property office provides a wide range of information that is accessible through the county's website, This information is compiled via reports by local assessors, and includes property specifications, tax info, owner history, and even a map and parcel viewer.

If you have questions regarding your property, contact the Clerk's office at 938-2293 or the Real Property office at 938-2224. For tax-related information, contact the Treasurer's office at 938-2290.

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