Scam Calls Targeting Recipients of Property Tax & Rent Rebates
The Department of Revenue issued a warning to Pennsylvanians to be cautious of a scam targeting seniors and people with disabilities who receive rebates through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. The department received information this week that the scam consists of unsolicited telephone calls from a person claiming to work for the Department of Revenue. The caller starts the call by saying the recipient's application for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program has been approved. The called then asks if the recipient would like the rebate deposited directly into a bank account. That is followed by a request for the recipient's banking information.
Revenue Secretary, Dan Hassell, wants the public to be aware of this scam and to know that the Department of Revenue does not make unsolicited calls requesting banking information.
Here is some additional information and tips to safeguard against this scam.
- The Department of Revenue DOES NOT collect applicants' banking information over the phone. Applicants are required to submit their account information on their application forms in order to receive their rebates through direct deposit.
- The Department of Revenue DOES contact applicants via automated calls to confirm their information has been received and approved. If the department needs more information about an individual's application, it sends a letter through the mail.
- Do NOT give out personal information over the phone to unsolicited callers, even if the caller claims to be from the Department of Revenue, the IRS, or your bank.
- Do not trust the number you see on your caller ID, even if it appears to be coming from the Department of Revenue or the IRS. Scam artists increasingly use a technique known as spoofing to trick caller ID.
- Legitimate businesses and government agencies will not contact you to verify your account information, so ask for a call back number. Ask why your personal information is needed, how it will be used, how it will be protected, and what happens if you do not share it. Contact your bank or credit card company to verify the call.
- If you received one of these scam calls and provided your banking information or other personal information, immediately call your bank to report this potential fraud.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is a program that annually provides property tax and rent relief to income-eligible seniors and people with disabilities. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975.
Applicants may obtain Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and related information on the Department of Revenue's website or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-222-9190. The application deadline for rebates on rent or property taxes paid in 2018 has been extended to December 31, 2019.