The pain of paying property taxes doesn't compare to the pain of finding out you were scammed when trying to save some money. Several local residents are feeling the pinch after getting mail that looks promising to give you discounts on your property taxes, but the Better Business Bureau says it is all a hoax.
"When you are disabled and living on a fixed income, you'll be glad to get a discount on taxes or anything you can get a discount on," said Latricia Butler, a College Station resident.
She says she received a document that states she was overpaying on her property taxes.
The document said, "For a one time $55 processing fee you could be on your way to saving money." Butler wrote the check and sent it in.
"It's devastating. I really wanted to let the public know, so if there's somebody who gets a letter like this, be sure to read the small print because it will tell you it has nothing to do with the government," said Butler.
The small print says it is not an official document of the state of Texas.
There is some truth the scammers bring up, residents can save money on property taxes. You can apply for Residential Homestead Exemption in which the county can lower property taxes, but the savings is no cost to the taxpayer.
"There is no charge for filing out a Homestead application. All you have to do is come into our office, and we'll be glad to walk you through," said Mark Price, the Chief Appraiser for the Brazos County Appraisal District.
Being cautious is a lesson Butler learned the hard way, and wants others to use her story as a warning.
"Please read the small print if it's on a car or a house or taxes, please read the small print because there are a lot of scammers out there," Butler said.
If you do find one of these letters make it to your mailbox, be sure to contact the county appraisal district.
The Texas Legislature enacted changes to residence homestead applications beginning September 1, 2011. These applications must now be accompanied by a copy of your Texas driver's license or Texas ID Card and a copy of your vehicle registration form with the same physical address as the address on the homestead application.
Remember all three documents must have the same physical address. If you don't own a vehicle, you must complete a Non-Ownership of Motor Vehicle Affidavit and provide the District with a copy of a utility bill with the same physical address as the homestead application address.