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New Law Targets Property Tax Scams

An example of the official-looking documents that the new law was made to pro...

Photo by Marianne Russ / CCN

Above: An example of the official-looking documents that the new law was made to protect from.

A new law that takes effect January first will ban a popular property tax scam. But one lawmaker is warning Californians to be vigilant now.

You’re probably familiar with the scam. You get a letter in the mail from a company that offers to help reduce your property taxes for a fee. But that’s something counties automatically do for free when the market drops. Democratic Assemblyman Ted Lieu wrote legislation that bans the scam. He said he got one of the notices just last week.

“These third companies and these parties are quite smart," said Lieu. "They’re sending out a lot of letters right now to try to get as much scam money as they can before the bill takes effect.”

The letters look official and counties say they’ve had hundreds of calls from homeowners who’ve been confused by them.

"Rather than us spending our time notifying people not to get scammed, we’d rather be doing our work for the people,” said Amador County Assessor Jim Rooney, said

Under the new law, scammers will be fined up to $25,000 dollars per letter, and could face six months in jail.

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