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County assessor office warns of property tax scams

Also real estate fraud

OW Staff Writer | 11/28/2019, midnight

Los Angeles County Assessor Jeff Prang is reminding residents about scams and common real estate fraud, especially during the holiday season, when unscrupulous individuals have been known to prey on the unsuspecting property owner by way of unsolicited, official-looking mailers.

The county assessor’s office was recently featured as a cautionary voice of reason in the Los Angeles Times business columnist David Lazarus recent article, “That $3 deed? They’ll do it for $89.”  Lazarus pointed out that people need to be cautious about official-looking letters claiming to offer something for a cost when it’s free or of very little expense.

“Property owners should closely examine any official-looking mailers,” Prang said. “They should be aware of deed scams and unsolicited mailings designed to look as if they’ve been issued by a government agency. My website, assessor.lacounty.gov, has tips about similar scams and I encourage everyone to learn about these fraudulent practices.”

Prang’s office has combined many of the most common real estate frauds on his website that include foreclosure rescue, mortgage elimination, equity skimming, equity fraud, fraudulent loan origination, land fraud and rental fraud, to name just a few. 

Also, Prang reiterates that during the holiday season people may receive unsolicited letters or mailers that appear to be from a government agency that’s asking for money for documents that are either free or of very little cost. 

“Unfortunately, there are individuals that try to prey on those that are trusting, especially during the holiday season,” Prang said. “We are here to help and you can contact any one of my five district offices or my main office with any of your questions.” 

Prang was first elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. He runs the largest office of its kind in the nation, employing 1,400 people with an annual budget cresting near $190 million. The 2019 assessment roll topped out near $1.7 trillion and provides about $17 billion in vital public services.