Beware of letter from private company selling public property records


IT )S NOT. IT )S A PRIVATE BUSINESS, ASKING FOR (YOUR MONEY — AND CRITICS WORRY THEY )RE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF PEOPLE. ON SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT — NEWS 13 )S LYSEE MITRI SHOWS YOU WHAT THIS COMPANY IS OFFERING… AND WHY IT MAY BE AN (UNNECESSARY OFFER. …NATS open mail box… …NATS pull out mail, close mailbox… …Scott Turner, Real Estate Attorney “Essentially this is junk mail and you probably ought to throw it in your recycle bin”… …NATS opening envelope… …Vickie Wilcox, attorney “It )s very discouraging because I think a lot of vulnerable people might fall for it”… PEOPLE WHO )VE JUST BOUGHT A HOME… OR MADE CHANGES TO A DEED WILL PROBABLY GET (THIS IN THE MAIL AFTERWARDS. AND IF YOU DON )T READ IT CAREFULLY… YOU MIGHT THINK IT )S FROM THE COUNTY… OR SOME OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY. …Vickie Wilcox, attorney “My opinion, it looks as though it came from the IRS. The font and the formatting is very similar to correspondence you see when you look at your tax returns”… ATTORNEY VICKIE WILCOX SAYS SHE (WARNS HER ESTATE PLANNING CLIENTS ABOUT THIS LETTER — BECAUSE IT )S (NOT FROM THE GOVERNMENT. AND EVEN THOUGH IT ASKS FOR A RESPONSE BY THE END OF THE MONTH — YOU DON )T HAVE TO RESPOND AT (ALL. BECAUSE, AS IT SAYS IN TINY FONT AT THE BOTTOM: (THIS, IS A SOLICITATION. …Vickie Wilcox, attorney “We had several clients come in and mention that they either had sent in the $86 or they were intending to and then we realized it was a problem”… …Vickie Wilcox, attorney “It )s very upsetting”… THE SOLICITATION COMES FROM A CALIFORNIA-BASED BUSINESS CALLED “PROPERTY PROFILE.” …Lysee Mitri “For 86 dollars… the private company says it compiles a report full of public information about a homeowner )s property… so the homeowner can make sure everything is accurate. They caution, )mistakes can affect property taxes. )”… BUT AN ONLINE (SEARCH OF THE COMPANY TURNED UP QUITE A FEW WARNINGS… AND COMPLAINT AFTER COMPLAINT. EVEN ITS (OWN WEBSITE SHOWS A FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION IS — “IS THIS A SCAM?” …Karen, Property Profile “Well obviously we )re not a scam”… THAT )S KAREN ON THE OTHER END OF THE LINE. …Karen, Property Profile “I )d rather not give you my last name. I can give you my employee ID”… SHE ANSWERED WHEN WE CALLED PROPERTY PROFILE, ASKING FOR AN INTERVIEW. SHE SAYS SHE )S A CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE SUPERVISOR. …Karen, Property Profile “I understand that people don )t understand our service. You being in the media, I )m sure you understand that people don )t often go online and write good things about you”… KAREN SAYS SOMETIMES PEOPLE ARE PUT OFF BY THE FACT THAT THE COMPANY HAS ACCESS TO THEIR PROPERTY RECORDS. …Karen, Property Profile “They call you up and they start screaming at you and they don )t give you the opportunity to explain because they read comments like that. But it )s not, we )re not a scam. You know, we state everything that we do on the letter. We say we )re not a government agency”… THE BUSINESS SAYS IT CREATES ITS PROPERTY REPORTS BY USING QUOTE POWERFUL SOFTWARE AND CUTTING EDGE ALGORITHMS TO ANALYZE (PUBLIC INFORMATION. KEY WORDS THERE — PUBLIC INFORMATION. …Scott Turner, Real Estate Attorney “Took me about ten minutes to get all the information”… REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY SCOTT TURNER POINTS OUT YOU CAN ACCESS THE PUBLIC RECORDS (YOURSELF AT A FRACTION OF THE COST. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, HERE )S A LIST OF THE KIND OF INFORMATION “PROPERTY PROFILE” SAYS IT OFFERS. …Scott Turner, Real Estate Attorney “Probably half the information on this form that they )re giving you, you can get off your tax bill.”… AND IF YOU DON )T ALREADY HAVE IT HANDY… YOU CAN GET IT FROM THE COUNTY TREASURER — IN-PERSON OR ONLINE. TAX RECORDS ON THE (BERNALILLO COUNTY TREASURER )S (WEBSITE ARE FREE. YOU CAN GET COPIES OF DEEDS AND MORTGAGES THROUGH YOUR COUNTY (CLERK )S OFFICE. IT COSTS A DOLLAR A PAGE, HERE IN ALBUQUERQUE. AND FOR A HOME )S MARKET VALUE… TURNER SUGGESTS ZILLOW.COM OR CONSULTING A LOCAL REAL ESTATE AGENT. …Lysee: Bottom line, someone gets this in the mail. What should they do? Put it in the recycle bin… ULTIMATELY — THAT )S GONNA UP TO YOU… BUT REMEMBER, DON )T LET THE FORMAT FOOL YOU. READ THE FINE PRINT. ON SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT, LYSEE MITRI, KRQE NEWS 13. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL )S OFFICE SAYS IT HASN )T INVESTIGATED THIS COMPANY SPECIFICALLY… BUT IT SAYS “GOVERNMENT IMPOSTER” SCAMS ARE ON THE RISE NATIONWIDE. FOR RESOURCES TO ACCESS YOUR PROPERTY RECORDS… GO TO “ALWAYS ON” KRQE-DOT-COM. ADLIB TOSS TO WEATHER TONIGHT…Mostly clear. Lows in the lower 50s. Southwest winds

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