County Clerk Warns Against Tax Lien Scam

MIDDLESEX COUNTY – Middlesex County Clerk Elaine M. Flynn is alerting property owners to be wary of official-looking notices that claim there is a tax lien investigation on their property.

Private companies, calling themselves “consumer advocacy firms that specialize in tax negotiation and settlement,” are sending a document entitled “Notice of Tax Lien Investigation” in the mail to residents indicating that their property is under a “tax lien investigation,” according to the county clerk.

The authentic-looking notice provides a date and file number and lists a settlement figure, usually $1,000, along with a telephone number that recipients are advised to call. Telephone calls to the number offer investigation assistance into the tax lien for a $99 fee. Some of these firms charge an additional per-minute fee just for calling them.

“This is a scam being visited upon the public by unscrupulous vendors who are playing on the fears of homeowners on their single most treasured possession — their home,” said Flynn. “Our office has received inquiries from homeowners who have received these notices, and when we check our records, we find that no liens have been filed on the property.”

Flynn said she has taken the matter to the county’s legal department and they will investigate further.

She said this is the second scam discovered. In the first scam vendors offer to provide a certified copy of a property deed at a cost of $79.50 and higher.

She said homeowners can obtain a certified copy of the deed to their property directly from the County Clerk’s Office at a much more reasonable cost. Homeowners can contact the Middlesex County Clerk’s office at 732-745-3002 or 732-745-4236 with their complete property address, purchase date, and lot and block number to be advised of the costs for such documents, which are usually between $4 and $20.

“I would like to thank the County Clerk for making our residents aware of these scams,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “As public servants, we must remain vigilant in discovering and then notifying our residents of these schemes that could potentially cost them time and money.”

Additional information may be obtained by calling the Middlesex County Clerk’s Office at 732-745-3002 or 732-745-4236.

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