Postal Inspectors Catch Company Behind Fraudulent Tax Property Invoice Mailings

Montgomery County warned residents last month of an apparent fraud attempt linked to the letter

U.S. Postal Service inspectors said the company accused of sending fraudulent letters promising property tax cuts agreed to stop doing so and reimburse those who fell in the trap.

Officials from the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection and the local Better Business Bureau alerted postal service inspectors to nearly 1,000 complaints from homeowners, many in Bethesda and whom were the letters sent last month from a group called the Maryland Property Review Board.

The letters purported to offer residents a way to have their property assessment revised in exchange for a payment of $ 99.

One of the letters informed recipients that their home’s property tax bill “is approximately $ 1,346.00 higher than that of comparable homes due to changing market conditions and valuation. of your property ”.

There is, in fact, no cost to property owners in Montgomery County to request a tax assessment review. The Maryland State Department of Assessment and Taxation does not send out letters advising residents that they can file a claim. The actual petition review form is available on the state website.

Tom Ouellette, spokesperson for the Washington division of the US Postal Inspection Service, said inspectors went to the Cockeysville address of the company that sent the letters, spoke to the owners and said they agreed to sign a cease and desist order.

Ouellette said they also agreed to reimburse any homeowners who fell for the scam.

“Our main concern was to take care of the victims, so if they stop sending the shipments and refund the money, we’re happy,” Ouellette said.

Homeowners can request a refund directly from the Maryland Property Review Board, or through the county’s Office of Consumer Protection, the US Postal Inspection Service-Washington Division, or the Better Business Bureau serving Greater Maryland.

Misleading letter sent to owners of Bethesda and Potomac

Esther L. Steinbach

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