Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway and Cabinet for Health & Family Services Issue Fraud Alert for One-Time Economic Stimulus Payment

Press Release Date:  Monday, April 20, 2009  
Contact Information:  Allison Gardner Martin
Communications Director
502-696-5651 (office)

Attorney General Jack Conway and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller are warning consumers who receive Social Security and other disability payments against possible scams as the federal government prepares to distribute a one-time economic stimulus payment.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides a one-time payment of $250 to adult Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Affairs (VA) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries. The Social Security Administration will distribute the one-time payment by late May.

"Scam artists targeting the economic stimulus payments will likely employ the same types of techniques as used previously when dealing with government issued payments. Secretary Miller and I want to ensure that Kentucky consumers who receive Social Security, SSI and other disability payments do not fall victim to these con artists," said General Conway.

"In these tough economic times, we know that the one-time, additional payment from the federal government provided as part of the stimulus package will be very welcome for individuals who receive Social Security and certain disability payments," said Secretary Miller. "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."

The Office of the Attorney General and Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services recommend that Kentuckians expecting these payments follow these tips to protect themselves against potential fraud.

Beware of callers who claim to represent the government and claim to have problems with depositing your stimulus payment. If you are asked for your bank account number or verification of your Social Security number, don’t give it. With this information, the caller can withdraw money from your account, or use your Social Security number to obtain credit in your name. You will NOT be called for verification purposes through this plan. Your money will be automatically be deposited or delivered in the same manner as your Social Security check.

Beware of callers who claim that you qualify for the stimulus payment, but need additional information to verify your identity. Once the information is given, the caller then has enough information to steal your identity. Again, you will NOT be called for verification.

Beware of websites, emails and online advertisements promising additional funds and "inside" access to other government grants. Some websites have prominent photos of President Obama to suggest their legitimacy. These gimmicks are used to entice consumers to call or "click" for additional information. There is no application requirement for the economic stimulus payment, nor does the government charge people to apply for a grant. This one time Social Security economic stimulus payment is automatic.

Beware of callers and delete emails purporting to offer help in preventing foreclosure by obtaining stimulus money on your behalf. If you are in danger of foreclosure, you should contact your lender first. You can also contact Protect My Kentucky Home at 1-866-830-7868 to obtain professional assistance in determining if your individual situation can be remedied in order to avoid foreclosure.

Kentucky consumers who have received these or similar calls, or other offers related to the one-time economic stimulus payments, should disregard them and report them to the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257.