Crime & Courts

How to know a property assessor is not an imposter

Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor Ken Joyner, left, is shown with two property assessment workers outside his office at Bob Walton Plaza on Stonewall Street on Friday. The workers are wearing assessor’s office shirts and hats that identify them to property owners.
Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor Ken Joyner, left, is shown with two property assessment workers outside his office at Bob Walton Plaza on Stonewall Street on Friday. The workers are wearing assessor’s office shirts and hats that identify them to property owners. jmarusak@charlotteobserver.com

An imposter claiming to be with the Mecklenburg County tax assessor’s office tried to convince two homeowners to let him into their homes in the Charlestowne Manor neighborhood in Charlotte’s Cotswold community this week, officials said

The homeowners weren’t buying it, but the incidents alarmed Tax Assessor Ken Joyner enough to alert the public on Friday on how to recognize his workers.

Property appraisal staff are out canvassing the county for the 2019 evaluation, Joyner said.

They have tax assessor hats, shirts and ID badges on and carry tax assessor’s office business cards. They drive clearly marked county vehicles or vehicles with sticker magnets on their sides that say, “Mecklenburg County Real Estate Appraisal.”

“So it should never be difficult to identify that they are truly a part of the assessor’s office,” Joyner said at a news conference on Friday in the parking lot outside his office at Bob Walton Plaza on Stonewall Street

Staff will not ask to go inside your home, Joyner said. Any interior viewing requires an advance appointment, and will always include two staff members, he said.

The assessor’s office posts the neighborhoods where appraisers will be working in a given week at mecknc.gov/assessorsoffice. Residents of those neighborhoods also will be notified through the Nextdoor online social network, Joyner said.

Residents with questions about county appraisers on their property should call 704 336-7600 to verify their identity.

Joyner said instances of an imposter are rare. “In my four years here, this is the first time we have gotten a call like this that it was not one of our staff members,” Joyner said.

He urged residents who detect anything unusual to call police.

Joyner said Charlotte-Mecklenburg police notified his office about one of the two Cotswold incidents on Friday morning. Police described him as white, skinny, of average height and in his 50s. He has light to gray hair and wore jeans and a construction jacket.

One of the homeowners notified the neighborhood’s resource officer after a man knocked on the door, said he was a county appraiser employee and needed to walk inside to count the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

“This person knew immediately that it was a scam and did not allow him into the home,” Joyner said. The resource officer posted the incident on Nextdoor, which drew a response from a second resident reporting a similar instance.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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