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Erie County Clerk's Office target of scam letter

Letter alleges underpayment of transfer tax during real estate closing.
Credit: Erie County Clerk's office

BUFFALO, N.Y. — If you've bought a house recently and got a letter from the Erie County Clerk's Office saying you underpaid your transfer tax when you closed, the office says it's a scam.

The letter claims to be from an employee of the "Erie County Department of Equalization" and demands payment by the end of the month. Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns says that department doesn't exist and the person who signed the letter does not work for Erie County. Also, the payment link in the letter has been disabled. 

“Sadly, scammers see an opportunity during times of distress,” Kearns said. “If someone or some entity you’ve never dealt with before is trying to get you to part with your hard-earned money, stop and question it.”

Kearns added that Erie County would not send a letter in this instance. Kearns says any disputes regarding underpayment of transfer tax would be handled by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

If you received the letter and still have questions, Kearns says you can contact the attorney that handled your house closing or call the Erie County legal department of the Erie County Clerk’s Office at (716) 858-6348.