STAR Re-Registration Scam

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The New York State Division of Consumer Protection is alerting New York State residents to a new scam linked to the requirement for homeowners to reregister for Basic STAR tax exemptions by December 31, 2013 in order to receive property tax relief in 2014 and subsequent years.

Consumers around the state are receiving letters from solicitors offering to enroll them in the STAR program for a fee. Accompanying the letter from “STAR Exemption Advisor” are materials, such as a copy of the original signed agreement, designed to lead the victim to believe they had at some point previously authorized STAR Exemption Advisor to file on their behalf. The amount of money being charged by the scammers is described in the letter as a “one-time feeā€¦ equivalent to the first year savings” that would have been afforded to the homeowner through the STAR program.

The Basic STAR program reduces school district property taxes on the primary residences of New York residents whose household income is less than $500,000 by allowing the first $30,000 of the full value of a home to be exempt from school taxes. The New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection would like to assure consumers that registration to the STAR program is free, and further provide the following tips to avoid this and other disingenuous schemes:

  • If you receive unsolicited mail from a company that you are unsure about, research the offer. Be cautious.

  • Research the company’s status by contacting the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection and/or the Better Business Bureau.

  • Act immediately if you provided personal identifiable information to unknown or unverified parties by notifying the companies with whom you have the accounts and by placing a security freeze or fraud alert on your files at credit reporting agencies.

  • Apply for STAR exemption on your own by calling 518-457-2036 or visiting www.tax.ny.gov.
    For more information regarding scam prevention and mitigation, please contact the New York Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection at 518-474-8583.