TOPEKA, Kan. – With a new round of stimulus checks comes new waves of COVID-19 relief scams.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says with a third round of federal COVID-19 stimulus checks headed to residents, he is reminding Kansans to exercise caution if they are approached regarding the funds.
According to AG Schmidt, Congress authorized payments of up to $1,400 for each qualifying resident, under similar guidelines that were used in the first two rounds of Economic Impact Payments that were sent during the spring of 2020 and again in January of 2021. As was the case during earlier rounds, he said Kansans should be wary of scammers that offer to help receive 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 said the following tips should help Kansans avoid falling prey to a scammer:
- The IRS will not ask residents to pay anything upfront to get the money. There are no fees or charges associated with getting the payment. No one from the federal government will call, email or text and ask for Social Security numbers, bank accounts or credit card numbers. Anyone who does this is running a scam.
- Anyone that calls and tells a resident that they can get the check to them immediately is a scammer. Schmidt’s best advice is to not answer calls, emails or texts from phone numbers or email addresses residents do not recognize. If a resident does answer the phone, once they realize the person on the other end is not someone they know, they should hang up immediately.
- The FTC has warned residential facilities that require residents on Medicaid to sign over their funds since the person is on Medicaid, the facility is entitled to the payment. However, Congress provided for the impact payments in the form of a tax credit, which does not count as a “resource” for the purpose of being eligible for federal benefits programs like Medicaid. Due to the classification, residential homes are unable to assert a right to the payment merely because the resident is on Medicaid.
Schmidt said if a resident has been contacted by a scammer that impersonates someone with the federal government asking for information related to stimulus payments or any other COVID-19 scam, they can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division or call 800-432-2310 to request a paper complaint form be sent via mail.