Homeowners Beware: New Scam Letters Circulating in Maryland Look Surprisingly Official

Close up unhappy African American young woman reading letter, document, frustrated businesswoman or student received bad news, unexpected debt or job dismissal notification, financial problem.
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The Consumer Protection Division of the Maryland attorney general’s (AG) office is warning consumers about home warranty scam letters addressed to homeowners. The division emphasized that these letters appear very official.

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Indeed, according to the alert, the letters include “a document that resembles a check, with the words ‘renewal fee voucher,’ as well as a photo of the homeowner’s home on the return envelope.”

In addition, they also include threatening language such as “final notice” and pretend to have an affiliation with the homeowner’s mortgage company and the county deed records office.

The scam entails urging homeowners to renew their home warranty by telling them that theirs has expired, or may be expiring, according to the alert.

Scam Letters Using Threatening Language

The Maryland AG’s office reminds consumers that solicitations that use threatening language or unnecessary urgency are almost always a scam.

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“If you have a home warranty, check with the company through which you already purchased your warranty for expiration and renewal information,” the AG’s office detailed in the alert. “If you are interested in purchasing a home warranty with a legitimate company, conduct thorough research about potential businesses by reading reviews, checking with the Better Business Bureau, and contacting our office to see if any complaints have been filed against a particular business.”

Other states are also warning residents of similar scams. Last June, the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) of the Tennessee AG’s office issued a similar alert about home warranty scams.

“Many consumers wonder how these scammers know the name of their mortgage company. Some information about mortgages, such as the name of your lender and servicer, are public record and that information can be found online. These scammers use the name of your mortgage company in the letter in order to appear legitimate,” according to the alert.

The Tennessee AG’s office provided a sample of one of the scam letters in the alert, which reads: “Our records indicate that you have not contacted us yet to get your home warranty up to date. Please call immediately as this will be our final attempt to notify you. Without a home warranty in place, you are at risk of being financially liable for any and all repairs.”

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The alert urges consumers who want to purchase a home warranty with a legitimate company “to do thorough research as well as check with the Better Business Bureau for reputable companies.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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