Property, tax scams on rise

Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Lisa Brown is sounding the alarm about misleading mailings received by area residents under the guise of representing Oakland County and tax collection offices.
According to a recent press release, over the past several weeks, numerous area residents contacted the Oakland County Register of Deeds office after receiving a postcard through the mail with the heading “County Deed Records” and “Home Warranty Division.”
The postcard threatens a “lapse in coverage” and contains language clearly designed to agitate recipients. Emblazoned with terms like “Property Lienholder,” “Final Notice” and “Registration is Required,” recipients are urged to call a 1-800 telephone number. The notice is a sales marketing ploy for home warranty policies priced at thousands of dollars annually.
A separate mailing emblazoned with the heading “Third Notice” references a state tax lien and offers a “target settlement amount.”
Like the first example, these mailers contain urgent threats of “property loss, a bank levy, wage garnishment, or all of the above” and urge recipients to call a 1-800 telephone number to “help us to help you satisfy this debt.”
These mailings are not authorized by any department of Oakland County government. Under no circumstances should residents send money. 
“Unfortunately, scammers and fraudsters are getting more and more savvy in the ways they attempt to bait and mislead homeowners. I urge people to be wary of unsolicited demands for money,” Brown said. “If you receive these or similar suspicious communications in your mailbox, please know that it is not from my office and has no bearing on the status of your property.
“The best course of action is to dispose of these the same way you would any other piece of junk mail.”
A third example of misleading mail, received by some area business owners, carries the heading “Notice of Tax Lien” and references tax liens on property that has in some cases already been paid off.
These mailers share the common denominator of employing urgent and threatening language, raising the specters of “imprisonment” and “wage garnishment, seizure of property or assets.”
Again, these mailings are not official communications and under no circumstances should residents send money. 
“Upon being notified of this particular scam, I called the number on the mailer myself,” Brown said. “The 855 number was answered ‘tax offices’ but is clearly not a government entity. I cannot stress enough to ignore these bogus threats and, when in doubt, call my office, not them.”
For more information, call the Oakland County Clerk/ Register of Deeds office at 248-858-0561 or email

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