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New Yorkers Warned of Scams During Rebate Check Mailings

PHOTO: Rebate checks for many New York families may already be in the mail, and AARP and other consumer advocates warn residents to be on the lookout for scam artists who may call claiming they can help recipients get their checks more quickly. Photo credit: Mike Clifford.
PHOTO: Rebate checks for many New York families may already be in the mail, and AARP and other consumer advocates warn residents to be on the lookout for scam artists who may call claiming they can help recipients get their checks more quickly. Photo credit: Mike Clifford.
October 7, 2014

NEW YORK - Checks will soon be in the mail for many New Yorkers who are due tax rebates from the state, and consumer advocates warn this is a prime time to be on guard for scammers.

According to Chris Widelo, associate state director of AARP New York, many families who have at least one dependent are due Family Relief tax-rebate checks for several hundred dollars. Widelo warns New Yorkers to keep an eye on their mailboxes and be on guard for incoming phone calls from people claiming they can help get those rebates.

"The checks are going to be in mailboxes very shortly," he says. "This is going to be a target of scammers who are trying to get that money from you, or to get your identity in the process."

New York families who claimed at least one dependent and earned between $40,000 and $300,000 a year are due for the checks this month. Widelo says New Yorkers who suspect they have been a victim of a scam should contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Line at 1-800-771-7755.

Widelo notes that New York State has already determined which families qualify, so anyone calling and claiming they can help get a rebate is probably "up to no good."

"You want to avoid anybody who is calling you and saying, 'in order to receive your family relief tax credit you need to provide me with certain information,'" he says. "The Department of Taxation would not be calling you to ask for that information, and I think it's good practice to never give your personal information over the phone."

Widelo says New Yorkers expecting rebate checks for the Property Star Tax Rebate Program should also take precautions. Both rebates were authorized by the Cuomo administration and are likely targets for scammers looking to make an easy buck.

More information on the potential New York tax rebate scams can be found at AARP's Fraud Watch Network page.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY