Attorney General Brown: Homeowners Should be on High Alert for Property Tax Scams

Thursday, February 12, 2009
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Sacramento—Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued a Consumer Alert to California homeowners about a “blatant and costly scam” targeting homeowners with declining property values.

<strong>“This blatant and costly scam holds out hope to homeowners that their property taxes will be reduced if they pay hundreds of dollars to a middleman to have their property re-evaluated,”</strong> Attorney General Brown said. <strong>“In point of fact, homeowners can seek relief directly from their county assessor free of charge. Homeowners should be on high alert.”</strong>

Companies are sending deceptive mailers to homeowners offering help in reducing property tax assessments, if the homeowner pays the company hundreds of dollars in fees. The companies use official-sounding names such as “Tax Adjusters,” “Tax Readjustment” or “Tax Review” to make victims believe the company is a government agency.

Property tax reassessment is a free service provided by county tax assessors. If homeowners believe their property value has declined and they are paying too much in property taxes, the local tax assessor will review the property value for free for a possible downward assessment.

To avoid becoming a victim, homeowners should:
• Never pay money for something they did not ask for.
• Avoid a middleman—they should contact their local tax assessor’s office for property value reassessment.

Homeowners who believe they are a victim of this scam should contact the Attorney General’s Office by either calling 1-800-952-5225 or by writing to P.O. Box 944255 Sacramento, CA 94244.

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