Phony tax assessors try to enter home - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Phony tax assessors try to enter home

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February 7, 2005

Valdosta - As a field appraiser for the Lowndes County Board of Assessors, Tom Jenkins always carries identification and works out of a marked car. "They're all marked with the county seal, the board of assessors as well as the phone number to the board of assessors office," said Paige Dukes.

Now two men driving a similar, but unmarked car are claiming to be tax assessors to get into people's homes. "They knocked on the citizen's door, told them they were from the board of assessors office and they needed to come inside and take a look around for an evaluation," said Dukes.

When the homeowner asked for identification, the two men took off. So far this is the only incident that's been reported, but county officials want to warn other residents before they're caught in a similar situation. "The best advice is to check that identification, use your window, don't just open the door because someone says they're from the board of assessors office or any public office," said Dukes.

If a representative from the tax office needs to evaluate your home, they can almost always get what they need from the outside. But if for some reason they need to go indoors, they'll call you in advance to make an appointment. "That appointment will be made through our office and the homeowner will be well aware that the assessor is coming," said Dukes.

If the person has an i.d. and is in a marked car but you're still not comfortable, get the phone number off of the vehicle and call the board of assessors office for verification.

Investigators aren't sure if the men wanted to scam the homeowner or if they were out to harm him. Because he had poor vision, he wasn't able to get a good description of the suspect, but he thinks they were driving a white or light gray car.

posted at 3:35 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com