If you're one of those people who panic when you hear from the tax collector, you may want to take a page from the book of an intrepid Orange County family.
When Adele Orozco's family received a letter from the Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector, they thought it was odd. Back in May, they had sent in a $700 money order to pay part of the property tax bill on the 86-year-old Orozco's home. They were surprised to read that the payment had never been received.
The family acted quickly.
First, they requested a copy of the cashed money order. They immediately saw that the name of the payee had been altered. Fortunately, the name was legible.
What happened next could be right out of the movies. Orozco's son called the County and asked for that person.
He was connected immediately.
When he explained to the suspect that they had a cashed money order with her name on it, she promised to look into it and hung up.
The next call was to the County Treasurer himself.
According to Orozco's son, Treasurer Chriss Street -- whose office has been in the news a lot lately -- sounded "irritated this had happened."
Reports are that the clerk, who has been with the tax collector's office for nine years, was allowed to resign during the investigation.
The family was not about to let the clerk get away with the theft, said Orozco's daughter. "She probably thought it was easy money, but people aren't taking into consideration they are stealing from an 86-year-old woman who would lose her home,"
Resource: The Orange County Register, "Tax Clerk Investigated on Suspicion of Stealing Tax Payment" 8/4/10