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Helping seniors with property tax rebates is a potential scam

Published December 02. 2011 05:01PM

Carbon County is warning seniors about a potential scam that says it will help them with property tax rebates.

Randall Smith, county administrator, released a notice from Cheri Santore, administrator of the Carbon County Area Agency on Aging, regarding a letter that many seniors across the state have been receiving.

"Don't act on it," he said.

The letter, sent by a group known as the Senior Advisory Center out of Harrisburg, states that "the property tax/rent rebate program has been dramatically expanded to give more rebates to older and disabled Pennsylvanians, at the same time increasing the amounts of the rebates."

The company continues, "Many senior citizens are unaware, however, of the benefit they are legally entitled to, a yearly rebate check of up to $975."

The letter states that if a senior would like to have the Senior Advisory Center assist them in the claim, they should return the bottom portion of the worksheet, as well as payment of $39 before Dec. 31. Payment in the form of check, money order or credit cards are accepted for this service.

Santore, in an email, states that "although there are parts of the letter that appear to be authentic such as the requirements to qualify for the Property Tax rebate, there are other parts of the letter that are not factual, such as the maximum annual amount being listed as $975, when it is really only $650."

She noted that the letter from the Senior Advisory Center has been sent to the state Attorney General's office and that the potential scam is currently under investigation. She has also alerted the Protective Services Unit through the state Department of Aging.

"We as an agency are encouraging people to not complete the form or send money in at this time," Santore said. "If people contact tour office regarding the letter, if they are willing, we are collecting names and phone numbers to give to the Attorney General's office in case they need further information."

According to the Better Business Bureau website, the Senior Advisory Center is not a Better Business Bureau accredited company and has "F" ratings in California and is not rated in Pennsylvania, but has had three complaints filed against it with the BBB in the last 12 months. The BBB is an organization that helps consumers by providing information on businesses.

For more information, or to report a letter from Senior Advisory Center, contact the Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-441-1315.

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