Senior citizens warned about stimulus scam

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comApril 21, 2009 

FRANKFORT — State officials are warning senior citizens and those who collect government pensions to be wary of phone calls asking for personal information in order to get one-time stimulus money.

Under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, those who collect Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement Board will receive a one-time payment of $250 added to their retirement checks.

The money — set to be distributed by late May — will be automatically added to a pensioner's account. No additional information will be needed to get the one-time money.

Attorney General Jack Conway and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller warned that those who receive money through those programs should not give any personal information — Social Security numbers or bank account information — to callers or e-mailers purporting to be from the federal government.

"Individuals served by these programs will not be asked to provide any additional information to receive the payments and should be on alert for fraudulent attempts to obtain their personal information," Miller said.

Here are some tips and things to watch out for:

■ Steer clear of any caller who claims to represent the government and claims to have problems with depositing the stimulus payment. Do not give the caller your Social Security number or bank account information.

■ Be wary of callers who claim that you qualify for a stimulus payment but say they need additional information to verify your identity.

■ There is no application for the stimulus benefit. It is automatic. Do not respond to Web sites, e-mails or other advertisements that promise additional stimulus money or grants.

■ Kentucky consumers who receive these or similar calls or solicitations are encouraged to report them to the Office of Attorney General Consumer Protection hot line at 1-888-432-9257.

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