Don’t Open that Email!

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Amrock Sharing Appraisers Personal & Tax Information Without Consent

Have you given permission to Amrock to outsource / share your personal and tax information?…

Amrock recently sent their panel appraisers an email informing them a third party company, Fidelity Financial LLC, will be sending an email with a link to obtain their 1099-MISC.

Don’t open that email!

A simple Google search did not reveal any specific results for Fidelity Financial LLC. Who are they? Are they part of Fidelity Investments which is the #1 result on the search? Are they part of Fidelity Financial Group, which is an insurance wholesaler? Where are they located? Who are the principals? How can we contact them?

Since we do not know who this company is or anything about them, are you comfortable with your personal and tax information in their hands? How trustworthy are they? What security measures are in place to protect your personal information? And the bigger question, have you given permission to Amrock to outsource / share your information?

In the email Amrock sent, there was a link to view the email you will be receiving from Fidelity Financial. If there were no concerns before, there sure are concerns now. Fidelity Financial as outsourced this task to another third party company, Track1099 LLC! Take a look at this complete absurdity!

1099-MISC

To be fair, there is a “refuse or withdraw consent” option, but the email is to someone at Track1099. Who is Track1099? My business relationship is with Amrock, not Fidelity Financial or Track1099. Why would I communicate with anyone other than Amrock, the company I have a business relationship with?

Amrock does not have the authority to outsource or share your personal information to any third party without your specific consent. Further, no third party has permission to outsource your personal and tax information to another third party. This is yet another EPIC FAIL of Amrock as good ethical and moral decisions continue to be nonexistent.

If you are fine with your personal and tax information being sent and shared with whomever and fine with whomever sending your personal and tax information to another unknown party, simply do nothing.

If you are as outraged as I am and the several others I have discussed this with, contact Amrock and tell them they do not have permission to outsource your personal and tax information and they must provide you a paper 1099-Misc. Make sure you document your communication in writing. Something tells me you will need it.

Vendorpayables@amrock.com

Partnermanagement@amrock.com

The article was going to end here but I stumbled upon the career page on Amrock’s website getting the relevant contact emails for the article. Take a look at this photo from Amrock’s website.

Amrock career page

Now I am all for being comfortable at work and a business casual atmosphere, but the photo on the career page speaks volumes to their lack of professionalism. Tennis shoes, cargo pants, baseball hats and stickers on the laptops do not present a professional image of any organization. If this is what is posted on their website, I would hate to see how people in their office actually dress. I am more professionally dressed with Khakis and a polo shirt measuring homes in 100 degree weather than that photo represents. Heck, in my younger days, I dressed better going out to the clubs. This photo tells me Amrock is not a professional organization and I do not want to be associated with them. What about you?

Fellow appraisers, you have a choice in the people you work with. Choose the ones that will be true partners and those that have the same professionalism, respect and values as you. Life is simply too short for anything less.

By Milton P, Certified Residential Appraiser

Image credit flickr - meesh

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27 Responses

  1. Avatar Katie says:

    Ummm that’s phishing not an official e-mail from Amrock. Before you blast a company maybe do some research on phishing?

    4
    • Avatar JC says:

      Katie, it’s an official email from Amrock. I’ve gotten the same email and have called them about it. If you’ve done appraisals for them, you should have gotten the same email. If not, then you shouldn’t be concerned.

      9
  2. Avatar Michael says:

    Really? What rock do you live under? I suppose there are no small appraisal companies out there with employees or contractors that use “third party vendors” to prepare their taxes – like Turbo Tax or an online 1099 service, right? Every single appraisal company does it by hand, on paper (no software – i.e. a “third party”) or has an attorney draft a legal document for the employees or contractors to give permission to use tax software, right? I’m sure that happens. Of all the 1000 things we appraisers have to be concerned about currently going on in our profession, this is at the absolute bottom of the list. But go ahead – waste your time worrying about this. Welcome to the modern world. You might want to check out that new thing they call the “Internet” as well. By the way, since the company you are concerned about is an LLC, you can look that up on that wonderful Internet at whatever state they are incorporated in and find out if they are related to “Fidelity Investments” or not. The Internet does that sort of thing. Whatever you do, don’t Google yourself. You might find some of your “personal” information out there as well. Geez, I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I thought I was an old man – but apparently not as old and out of touch as this author is. “Warning! Warning! Concern yourself with this because I don’t understand it!”

    6
    • Avatar JC says:

      Really Michael?

      My accountant wanted to use Canopy, a tax software and an online client portal to share my tax info and exchange data and communicate through their platform. I said HELLO NO. Why you ask? Have you heard of Equifax data breach?

      I told my accountant that was not comfortable using a cloud service for my most confidential information. Canopy terms of services stated:

      “8. Warranties & Acknowledgements
      1. The provision of, access to, and use of, the Services is on an “as is ” basis and at Your own risk.
      9. Limitation of liability

      To the maximum extent permitted by law, Canopy excludes all liability and responsibility to You (or any other person) in contract, tort (including negligence), or otherwise, for any loss (including loss of information, Data, profits and savings) or damage resulting, directly or indirectly, from any use of, or reliance on, the Service or Website.

      If You suffer loss or damage as a result of Canopy’s negligence or failure to comply with these Terms, any claim by You against Canopy arising from Canopy’s negligence or failure will be limited in respect of any one incident, or series of connected incidents, to the Access Fees paid by You in the previous 12 months.

      If You are not satisfied with the Service, Your sole and exclusive remedy is to terminate these Terms in accordance with the terms and conditions contained herein.”

      I asked my accountant, so what happens if there is data breach? Will your company provide remediation? He said HELL NO!

      Try Googling Fidelity Financial LLC and let me know what you find out about this company.

      6
    • Avatar Milton P says:

      Michael. Using software is not the same as outsourcing to a third party company. The concern of our personal information is heightened significantly when the unknown third party who has no direct web results outsources to another company. When I spoke to the IRS, I was told the company must have your permission to issue a 1099 electronically. I am sorry if you do not understand, but this article is another example of how great AppraisersBlogs is in alerting appraisers of wrong doing and issues of concern.

      It you don’t care who gets your information or who has it, that is fine, no sweat off my back. Please don’t criticize others who are more informed than you and wish to take precautions to protect their personal information.

      7
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Michael… Learning to use the internet is perhaps slightly more in depth than you may give it credit for.

      The company in question is: Fidelity Financial LLC.
      Let’s cop a lead first.
      https://www.referralkey.com/SensibleMoneyMatters

      Trace that to a home page and capture an email.

      Check the email against known data breach disclosure site(s).
      Here is just one.
      https://haveibeenpwned.com/

      As expected, a validated hit. From 02/2019. The volume of hits is only somewhat important. More vital is the understanding how we are all being played by major corporations when we share our data. They gain data, sell and trade data, leverage data, and profit. Data security is always in the rear view mirror when it comes to employees and customers these days.

      “The internet”, yeah, I’ve heard of it… Be a power user or be careful, there really is no in between in 2020. Do you live under a rock or have you not heard of the massive scale of data breach disclosures lately?

      https://hostingtribunal.com/blog/hacking-statistics/

      1
      • Baggins Baggins says:

        This was also interesting. Apparently in the works for some time, just launched.

        It’s probably not a coincidence that as this rolled out, service providers actually did something about all the nuisance calls and scam attempts. They’re still coming in, but fewer and further between. Finally a little phone relief from scamsters. Not sure what this entity’s specific goals are but at least it’s something happening. Nothing to really focus on as an appraiser, but still an interesting tidbit of information.

        https://cyber-nyc.com/

        0
  3. Avatar Katie says:

    Yes I do appraisals for them and no I didn’t get it. It’s phishing but keep clicking away in your khaki’s.

    5
    • Avatar JC says:

      It’s NOT a phishing email (see screenshot)! You should have gotten an email if you do appraisals for them. Check your spam box or call them and ask them.

      It’s a legit email from Amrock. I talked to them about it and have received an email back from servicedesk@quickenloans.com and from VendorPayables@amrock.com regarding this email. They didn’t say it was a phishing email. A few of my colleagues also received the same email.

      BTW, I’m not the author of this article.

      7
    • Avatar Milton P says:

      It is not a phishing email. It was in the newsletter you should have received last week. If you did not get it, check you spam folder.

      5
      • Baggins Baggins says:

        If an appraiser can’t tell the difference between a scam and a request for third party data sharing from legitimate companies, they are their own worst enemy. No further action is required. Keep Clicking!

        1
  4. Avatar Pat Turner says:

    Didn’t Amrock just announce they were no longer going to be able to appraisal assignments in California due to the new employee-employer law?

    6
  5. Dan Wilson on Twitter Dan Wilson on Twitter says:

    What is the reason they want the info? I do not work for them I work for Amrock.

    6
  6. Avatar Steve says:

    Is this not your 2019 earnings statement from Amrock? I don’t work for them, didn’t get the emails, so I don’t know. Looks like it is though.

    4
  7. Avatar sb says:

    Amrock = Quicken Loans/Rocket Mortgage Valuation WHORES

    Click that link and you will install a surveillance Bot into your cell phone/onto your hard drive. Every key stroke you make will be recorded and placed inside a machine learning AI Database. Every appraisal report you submit to anyone will have its data STOLEN and used for their AVM/Bifurcation products.

    It’s your choice….They got busted stealing Intellectual Property from House Canary.

    Do you think they give a FLYING F about appraisers????

    BOTTOM LINE …….TRUST NO AMC…….EVER

    4
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      That’s interesting. You know those, 20 privacy settings you should set up for win 10ware? Try hundreds. Go through the privacy area, all linking syncing sharing, don’t allow anything to talk to anything else, turn it all off. The entire range of cortana and privacy settings ‘options’ is focused primarily around cross platform and multi device informational syncing. Spend some time adjusting through the Local Group Policy Editor. Give up on prefetch. If you’re worried about surveillance you probably should not be using a cell phone in the first place. If you’re waiting on some scan program to identify pups you’re doing it wrong.

      Back in the day running a business required hiring competent employees. The act of outsourcing and sharing data freely was unheard of. I don’t care how much the management activity costs, the burden of cost reduction should not extend to sharing the private data of employees vendors or customers.

      Milton just opt out, pass the burden back. Far more information you are not aware of has already passed hands. Even if resistance is rendered symbolic, it’s still our right as free people to make that objection. I refuse to use those tools too. Just mail it to me already because unless I sought it out and needed it personally, I object to third party entanglement as a general rule. Where is Techno Viking when you need him?

      0
  8. Avatar Certresid says:

    People do work for Amrock but at the same time complain about their their bottom barrel fees, scope creek and outrageous shenanigans. I don’t get it. It’s like eating in a crappy restaurant everyday, then complaining about the food.

    5
  9. Taunya Richards on Facebook Taunya Richards on Facebook says:

    Sometimes you guys are on spot and other times you are way off.

    Most companies outsource the 1099 because they are such a PITA to do correctly that hiring a company that specializes in them is what is required. Personally I’m irritated companies are required to enforce the IRS regulations. It’s expensive, and if you get anything wrong it’s a 250 dollar fine per 1099.

    You do have a right to require the company to hand issue a 1099 for you.

    3
    • Avatar Milton P says:

      What is so difficult? It is basic book keeping. There are numerous software programs that can do the task easily. What is disturbing is the company outsourced to turned around and outsourced to another company. That is just wrong on many levels. The women I spoke to at the IRS was taken back when I read her the email. She said it was very suspect.

      3
      • Taunya Richards on Facebook Taunya Richards on Facebook says:

        it requires to verify the TIN, the address, the amount. If you miss something as a period at the end of Inc, it is a violation. If you have five vendors, it’s doable. If you have thousands It can be a daunting task.

        I am not understanding what you are talking about. I have been working with 1099s for decades.

        The company outsourced to a company who out sourced to another company?

        Or they out sourced to a company that requires you download your tax documents from their platform?

        FWIW the IRS requires companies file electronically if they have to issue more than 250. That is typically done through a software/platform company.

        It sounds like they are trying to save money. It costs 3 to 5 dollars per 1099 for processing and fees.

        2
      • Taunya Richards on Facebook Taunya Richards on Facebook says:

        it is NOT basic bookkeeping. Ask any tax accountant. 1099s are not easy. Which is why a lot of small businesses skip sending them.

        2
        • Baggins Baggins says:

          Audit the fed and vote for flat tax, or do the job correctly as it’s intended to be completed, without compromising vendor or customer data privacy. It’s the same old story about oversized bureaucracy and red tape.

          Businesses have this annoying approach lately where they think because it’s good for them, any activity must be deemed acceptable for everyone else.

          You know, if you can’t cook, get out of the kitchen. Justifying excess work requirements to independent appraisers is an instant no traction conversational point regardless of the subject matter. Where is my advocate for more simple and more fair process implementation? Another third, fourth, and fifth party? No.

          0
          • Avatar Certresid says:

            this double dipping outsourcing of 1099’’s smells of passing the possible data breaching buck wherein Amrock can distance (shelter) themselves from liability.

            0
      • Taunya Richards on Facebook Taunya Richards on Facebook says:

        also, sorry for multiple, I would get nervous once things start getting transferred to multiple companies.

        3
  10. Avatar Dave L says:

    First email I received, I responded back and asked them not to send me an electronic copy, and to send me a hard copy. A week later I got a confirmation email saying that I had been removed from the email list and I would receive a hard copy.

    2
  11. Avatar JC says:

    Thanks to this blog/article and everyone who emailed Amrock. I received an email from them today that they are going a different direction and are mailing out 1099’s.

    2

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