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Clearing mail alert confusion: Is your mortgage or privacy at risk?

When someone you don't know sends an email about federal tax information, it's understandable that you'd be cautious. It's equally understandable that you'd question an unsolicited letter from lawyers talking about trustee changes at your mortgage company.

KOMO viewers contacted the Problem Solvers with questions about both.

People across the state are getting an email about the Washington Healthplanfinder Renewal Process. For some, it's raising red flags, because it talks about obtaining your most recent federal tax information in order to renew your health plan automatically for the next 5 years. There's also a deadline. You must respond by August 31st.

Sue in Chehalis thought it sounded fishy.

"I want to know of it is a scam," Sue wrote.

But the email is not a phishing scam. It's actually legit. The number in the email is the same as the number on the state's Healthplanfinder website. The state says the automatic renewal process is one of several health plan changes on the way.

Another change is, starting September 24th, patients insured through the Washington Healthplanfinder must make all health and dental premium payments themselves. The state will no longer handle premium payments.

Also raising eyebrows, a "snail mail" letter showing up in local mailboxes claiming to have important information about your property from the Advantage Legal Group in Bellevue. The mention of a county recorder, trustees, delinquent payments and foreclosure, has more than a few people concerned.

But the Advantage Legal Group letter is nothing more than a debt relief solicitation from lawyers. They're using a mailing list distribution based on names and addresses obtained through a public records search of property titles. Perfectly legal. Many companies do it. But no lenders or mortgage companies are involved is this move to drum up business. In reality, many people receiving the letter have no problem with delinquent payments and nothing is wrong at their mortgage company.

If you are concerned about losing your home or restructuring your debt- start with a certified, non-profit credit counselor. If you find you need the help of an attorney, be sure to do your homework and check out several options that you pick, not just the one's who pick you.

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