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Kan. AG: Watch out for COVID-relief scams as stimulus funds head to residents

FactFinder 12 Investigators: Don't Fall For It
FactFinder 12 Investigators: Don't Fall For It(kwch)
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 3:01 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With a third round of COVID-19 stimulus funds heading to residents, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt reminds Kansans to be cautious if they’re approached regarding the funds.

Congress authorized payments of up to $1,400 for each qualifying individual, using similar guidelines as with previous stimulus payments in January and last spring. As with the previous rounds of payments, Schmidt said Kansans need to be wary of scammers offering to assist with receiving the money.

“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.”

The Kansas attorney general offers tips to avoid falling victim to a scammer.

First, note that the IRS will not ask you to pay anything up front to get the stimulus money. There are no fees or charges associated with receiving the payment and no one from the federal government will call, email or text you, asking for you social security number, credit card number or bank account information.

“Anyone who does this is a scammer,” Schmidt said.

Second, you need to know that anyone calling and telling you that they can get your stimulus check to you today is a scammer.

“Our best advise 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,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said 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,” Schmidt said.

If a scammer impersonating the federal government, asking for information relating to the stimulus payment, or attempts to trick you into giving up your money and information with any COVID-19 related scam, you can file a complaint with the Kansas attorney general’s 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 scams is available on the state’s consumer protection website: www.InYourCornerKansas.org.

Copyright 2021 KWCH. All rights reserved.