Home Front

A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

February 10, 2009
Real estate-related scam #1,009

After three years now covering real estate I am completely overwhelmed by people and companies taking every opportunity to scam homeowners. For all the hallowed talk we hear about home ownership and the importance of home, for home being the most important thing after food, it sure attracts an active and inventive rip-off element.

This week two county assessors got in touch, complaining about the newest scam: companies doing mass mailings with offers to help homeowners lower their property taxes.

Just like last week's story on loan modification scams, they're offering services for a big fee that can be gotten for free.

Sacramento County Assessor Ken Stieger said he got a mailed solicitation seeking $179 to remedy what he said was a bogus claim, that his house was worth $100,000 less than the county's assessment. Act fast, his letter said. After Feb. 26, the fee would go up another $39.

"The way they're scamming the public is terrible," he said.

Amador County Assessor Jim Rooney said they're working his county, too.

"There is a letter that has apparently been mailed out to thousands of property owners in this county that looks like an official document that is charging $179 for a reassessment request that we provide for free," he said.

Rooney sent out this advisory: Don't be taken advantage of for unneeded service.

Home Front says: Be careful out there. Times are tough and the sharks are active.

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