A little advice on protecting yourself from property tax scams:
If you own a home, you’ve probably received at least one unsolicited letter in the past year offering to lower your property taxes. Usually, the letter will look very official, and may even list your official city or county tax assessor.
Granted, the offer can be tempting. The basic pitch is this: “For a nominal fee, we’ll save you hundreds or thousands on your tax bill by having your home appraised at a lower value.” You do “nothing” but pay an administrative fee.
Don’t fall for it! If you want to try and have your property taxes reduced, you can usually file an appeal with your tax assessor. The process is often only the minor inconvenience of filling out a form to request an adjustment. (Clearly, there’s no guarantee this will lower your tax bill, however.)
Here are red flags to look out for on these “lower your tax bill” letters:
1. They often ask for your social security number
2. They may request a certified copy of your property deed
3. Offers require an upfront fee for the re-assessment work
4. Letters will look like government letters, but may contain reverse side small print
Remember: Your assessor will likely provide an assessment appeal for no charge. These companies are looking for a quick score and may even expose you to identity theft down the road.
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