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Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Ok, so it’s not a scam designed for Halloween. But it is a scam that can be very scary and has scared people in neighborhoods around the country at different times.

It is known as a tax-lien scam, and a number of homeowners in Nassau County were the most recent victim of this attempted scam by a law firm looking to market itself as an advocate to prevent foreclosures.

The alleged scam involved a law firm gaining access to a public record tax lien list, which often included homeowners who might have been late in paying their property taxes. These homeowners would then get a letter in the mail, making claims that if the tax lien wasn’t resolved they would be foreclosed on by the county.

According to a person who collects property taxes in Nassau County, a homeowner would have to be two to three years in arrears to get a letter, and usually, it would not show up as some surprise. In this case, many of those on the tax-lien list and got letters had recently been brought current, and they flooded the tax-collection offices to ensure their accounts were paid in full.

Word is that the scam was in no way intentional, and the law firm which put out the letters has been apologizing to those homeowners who were erroneously on the tax-lien list. However, the letters have been forwarded to an ethics committee of the New York bar association for further investigation.

We can admit as much as the next person, that fear can be a good motivation for people to take action and buy into whatever is being marketing if it means not losing something important. But fear can also lead to episodes of chaos and uncertainty, as was experienced in Nassau County.

A little marketing tip:” Being more positive, telling prospects what they can gain by using your services, instead of what they may lose if they don’t, is likely to be a more effective pursuit of brand awareness.

There is no word on how many homeowners actually took up the offer for services by this law firm, but apparently, a number of people at least had the foresight to check their accounts first before making any moves as suggested in the letter. So it appears a scam crisis was averted.

This kind of event should serve as a wake-up call for all that if you have any outstanding taxes anywhere, take the steps to make sure you are current.

We don’t need to be scared more than one day a year.