Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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March 25, 2010

Attorney General Corbett warns seniors to be cautious of fee-based rebate assistance mailings

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett urged Pennsylvania seniors to be wary of mailings and other unsolicited offers that attempt to charge consumers a fee for information about Pennsylvania's property tax rebate program. 

"Pennsylvania seniors are NOT required to pay a fee to apply for the state's property tax and rent rebates program," Corbett said.  "Rebate forms and instructions are available free-of-charge and can be easily obtained from the Department of Revenue, as well as Area Agency on Aging offices and the offices of many state legislators."

Corbett said that homeowners across the state have reported recent mailings that ask seniors to complete an information form and return it with a payment in order to receive assistance in filing a property tax or rent rebate claim.  He noted that the letters do not disclose that seniors can apply for rebates directly with the Commonwealth for free, or that forms and assistance are readily available.

"Consumers should be on the alert for questionable offers that attempt to capitalize on programs intended to provide much-needed financial relief to older Pennsylvanians," Corbett said.  "We encourage consumers to avoid unsolicited offers that ask for payment in return for assistance obtaining government funds and urge all consumers to check directly with official agencies to determine if applications or other information can be obtained free-of-charge."

Corbett noted that Pennsylvania's Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older who meet certain income requirements.  The deadline for Pennsylvanians seeking a rebate for property taxes or rent paid in 2009 is June 30, 2010. 

Forms and instructions are available online from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and consumers with questions may call the Department at 1-888-222-9190 for assistance.

Consumers with questions or concerns about suspicious mailings or offers can contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555.

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