LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Property owners should beware of deed scams and unsolicited mailings designed to look as if they’ve been issued by a government agency, the Los Angeles County assessor warned.
Television and radio ads urging property owners to protect their homes from theft via unauthorized changes to deeds and other legal documents have raised concerns and led viewers to call the assessor’s office for advice. There has also been a rise in scams and misleading mailings nationwide.
“Homeowners should always be vigilant of attempts at theft that can lead to changes affecting legal documents and property ownership,” said Assessor Jeffrey Prang.
“I am also pleased to offer property owners an alternative to obtaining valuable assessment data so that they do not have to rely on fee-based services for information, that I believe ought to be free and readily accessible to the public.”
Fraudulent solicitations appear as though they’ve been mailed out by the assessor or another government agency and issue stern warnings about fines and jail time, asking property owners to pay fees to get more information. But the data they offer — like a property assessment profile — is already available for free from the assessor’s office.
Whenever a change is made to a deed, deed of trust or similar document recorded with the county, the last owner of record is automatically mailed a notice. That notice gives the property owner an opportunity to challenge any changes to ownership documents.
Assessment information like this is available at no cost through the assessor’s web-site at portal.assessor.lacounty.gov or during business hours by calling (213) 974-3211 or (888) 807-2111 or emailing email@example.com.
“Our award-winning portal should be the first resource for any property owner or real estate professional,” Prang said.
He also urged residents to report suspicious solicitations to a fraud prevention and information line at (800) 973-3370 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.