'These criminals have no conscience': New scam targets property tax, rent rebate recipients
- The state Treasurer is warning of another scam targeting Pennsylvania residents
- This time, scammers are going after property tax and rent rebate recipients
- "These criminals have no conscience or compassion," Treasurer Stacy Garrity said
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Bad actors are at it again, and this time they’re targeting property tax and rent rebate recipients across the Commonwealth.
That’s the warning from state Treasurer Stacy Garrity, who said scammers claiming to be from the Treasury are calling residents who applied for a property tax or rent rebate and asking for a bank account number — supposedly so the rebate payment can be made by direct deposit.
“It sickens me that they’re targeting the seniors and people with disabilities who applied for a Property Tax/Rent Rebate, but these criminals have no conscience or compassion."State Treasurer Stacy Garrity
“The sad reality is that scammers never stop, and we all need to be constantly on guard,” Treasurer Garrity said in a news release Friday.
“It sickens me that they’re targeting the seniors and people with disabilities who applied for a Property Tax/Rent Rebate, but these criminals have no conscience or compassion."
Garrity warned people to never give out their bank account or personal financial information over the phone.
“If someone claims to be from the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, do not hesitate to contact us to confirm that it’s really us,” she said.
What is the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
The program is among five supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since 1971, older and disabled adults have received more than $7.6 billion in property tax and rent relief.
The rebate program also gets funding from slots gaming.
The income limit for applicants is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.
Spouses, personal representatives or estates also are eligible to file rebate claims on behalf of claimants who lived at least one day in the claim year and meet all other eligibility criteria.
The maximum standard rebate is $650, but some homeowners may qualify for supplemental rebates.
Is direct deposit available?
Direct deposit is available for the rebates, according to the release, but recipients already include that information on their application before submitting it to the state Department of Revenue.
Treasury recommends direct deposit over U.S. mail to expedite the process of receiving payments, and has already processed more than 355,000 payments totaling more than $167 million.
More than half of those payments were made electronically, the release said.
Applicants for this year’s rebate can check the status by using the Department of Revenue’s Where’s My Rebate? online tool.
Treasury Press Secretary Samantha Heckel said the scam appears to be a broad-based attempt, likely targeting seniors in general. It is not believed the scammers have a list of applicants to the program.