Consumer Alert: Seniors complain callers using property tax relief programs to target

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office is joining the Washington State Departments of Veterans Affairs and Revenue in warning consumers about complaints they’ve received from seniors who say they’ve received calls from solicitors posing as state agents for a senior property tax relief program.

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The Department of Revenue learned Washington seniors are complaing that they have been contacted by solicitors trying to sell reverse mortgages while falsely claiming to work for the state. Seniors made a number of complaints this week to the Department and to county assessors saying that the solicitors, calling themselves “Seniors First,” implied or overtly stated that they were marketing these programs on behalf of the state.

The seniors reported that callers asked for personal information such as employment status, income, and age, under the guise of helping them determine whether they qualify for Washington’s property tax relief programs, or for aid and assistance programs for veterans.

They reported that the callers then move into selling reverse mortgage programs. Some of the property tax relief information the seniors reportedly received is incorrect. The Department of Revenue and county assessors are concerned the people making these calls are not trained to determine whether seniors qualify for state programs.

Representatives of Seniors First report they never identify themselves as state employees and never request personal information. They say they provide information about property tax and veterans programs as a service to seniors. They also admit they provide information about reverse mortgages and say they refer seniors to companies who provide reverse mortgages.

The Attorney General’s Office reminds people to always refrain from giving out personal information over the phone to someone they do not know, to contact their county assessor’s offices to find out more about property tax relief programs and to call the Department of Veterans Affairs (1-800-562-2308) for information on veteran’s benefits.

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The Attorney General’s Office provides more information about reverse mortgages and potential phone scams and advises you to evaluate all your available options carefully before choosing any mortgage product.

Read the full story at AGO News Releases.

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