Advice to avoid recovery scams - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Advice to avoid recovery scams


Residents need to be alert and aware of possible scams and con artists, as the Federal government's economic recovery money starts to arrive. The Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging is offering valuable advice to help Iowans avoid becoming a victim. Here is the release HVAAA has sent out, in its ongoing effort to help Iowans.

As the Economic Recovery Payments begin to be sent out, Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging and the Social Security Administration are reminding recipients to be vigilant about potentials scams. 

                "Scam artists are constantly looking for ways to attempt to pry personal information out of unsuspecting victims," stated Deb Yankey, SMP Coordinator for Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging.  "Many times they will use the threat of losing the $250 payment if a person refuses to give out their personal information."

                The $250 payment is being sent to Social Security, SSI, Veterans Administration, and Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries during the month of May.  According to Waterloo Social Security Field Office Manager Jerry Nelson, "You do not have to apply for this payment; payments will be sent out automatically. There will be no phone calls, no letters, or e-mails asking for personal information to receive this payment." 

                If the Social Security Administration needs to contact you about this special payment, they will do so in a manner that is similar to any other time they contact you.  If you should receive suspicious communication about this payment, follow the information below:

  • If you receive a letter or phone call asking you to respond with personal information:
  • - Compare the phone number and address of the agency with your past records or look up the information in the phone book
  • - Keep the letter by your side and call the number you looked up, to ask what you should do about the letter.
  • - Or if you receive a phone call, first ask the name of the caller and their phone number, tell them you'll call them back but use the number you have in your records to make the call.
  • If you receive an e-mail of any kind about this payment:
  • - Consider reporting it to the agency that sends your benefits
  • - Delete the e-mail!

If you are suspicious about a letter, phone call or e-mail you receive, it's important for you to contact the Social Security Administration, so they know that scam attempts are happening.  If you receive Social Security or SSI benefits and are expecting an Economic Recovery Payment but have not received it by June 4, please call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or 319-234-1554 in Waterloo.  If you have questions about identity theft or financial scams targeted toward older Iowans, contact the SMP program at Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-423-2449.

HVAAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation serving older person in Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Grundy, Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama counties. HVAAA coordinates services for people ages 60 and older and their caregivers to maintain the independence they desire. Some of the services provided by HVAAA include home delivered meals, caregiver support and respite services, case management services, consumer protection, consumer protection, congregate meals, public information and education, Senior Helpline, and advocacy.

Online Reporter:  Ron Steele


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