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Consumer Alert: Be watchful for COVID relief scammers as third round of payments continues

Release Date: Mar 23, 2021

TOPEKA – (March 23, 2021) – With a third round of federal COVID-19 stimulus funds heading to residents, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is reminding Kansans to exercise caution if they are approached regarding the funds.

Congress authorized payments of up to $1,400 for each qualifying individual, using similar guidelines that were used in the first two rounds of Economic Impact Payments that were distributed during the spring of 2020 and again in January of this year. And as was the case during the earlier rounds, Schmidt said Kansans should be wary of scammers offering to assist with receiving the payments.

“This latest round of federal stimulus is larger than the second round, and it has been expanded to cover more Kansans who may have been ineligible during the earlier rounds,” Schmidt said. “I caution all Kansans to use caution to prevent loss of the money they are entitled to receive.”

Schmidt offered these tips to avoid falling prey to a scammer:

  • The Internal Revenue Service will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. There are no fees or charges associated with receiving the payment. No one from the federal government will call, email or text message you and ask for your Social Security number, bank account information or credit card number. Anyone who does this is a scammer.
  • Anyone calling and telling you they can get the check to you today is a scammer. Our best advice is to not answer calls, emails or text messages from phone numbers or email addresses you do not know. If you do answer a phone call, once you realize it’s not someone you know, just hang up.
  • The Federal Trade Commission has warned of residential facilities requiring that residents on Medicaid sign over their funds, claiming that because the person is on Medicaid the facility is entitled to the payment. But Congress provided for the impact payments in the form of a tax credit, which under federal tax law do not count as “resources” for the purposes of being eligible for federal benefits programs like Medicaid. Because of this classification, residential homes cannot assert a right to the payment merely because the resident is on Medicaid.

If you’ve been contacted by a scammer impersonating the federal government asking for information relating to the stimulus payment or any other COVID-19 scam, you can file a complaint with our Consumer Protection Division online at www.ag.ks.gov. You can also call (800) 432-2310 to request a paper complaint form be sent to you by mail.

More information on how to protect yourself from these and other scams is available on our consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.