Take Steps to Avoid Scams This Tax Season
2/15/2019
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Take Steps to Avoid Scams This Tax Season

As tax season begins, it is important to protect yourself and your family from scams and phishing schemes designed to steal your money or personal financial information.

One common scam to keep an eye out for involves phony “Final Demand for Payment” notices threatening the seizure of a taxpayer’s property if the recipient of the notice fails to make immediate payment.

Pennsylvanians should also beware of phishing schemes that use fraudulent email messages, deceptive software or malicious files that are designed to steal sensitive information, such as passwords, usernames or personal financial information.

To avoid these scams, individuals should not provide any personal information until they are sure they are speaking to a legitimate representative, keep an eye out for vague communications and never click on suspicious links or attachments.
Pennsylvanians should also know that any scenario in which they are asked to pay their debt with reloadable debit cards, gift cards or money wiring services are scams. No government agencies use these methods for payment.

If you think you are a victim of identity theft or discover a fraudulent Pennsylvania personal income tax return was filed using your identity, contact the Department of Revenue’s Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit at 717-772-9297 or RA-RVPITFRAUD@pa.gov.
 
 
Don’t Miss Out on No Cost Property Tax/Rent Rebate Assistance


My district office staff will once again be available to provide FREE application assistance for the state’s 2018 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program at the following dates, times and locations:
  • Thursday, Feb. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon, Ellsworth Parkview Apartments, 19 S. Main St., Scenery Hill, PA 15360.

  • Thursday, Feb. 28, from 9 a.m. to noon, Nathan Goff Apartments, 1 Middleland Avenue Ext., North Charleroi, PA 15022.

  • Thursday, March 7, from 9 a.m. to noon, Donora Senior Center, 701 7th & Meldon, Donora, PA 15033.

  • Thursday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to noon, Liberty Towers, 520 Liberty St., California, PA 15419.
The program is designed to help eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older to receive up to a $650 rebate from the property taxes or rent they paid in 2018.

To be eligible, homeowners must earn less than $35,000 a year and renters less than $15,000 with half of Social Security income excluded.

Certain supplemental rebates can boost homeowner rebates up to $975. The supplemental rebates are automatically calculated by the Department of Revenue for qualifying homeowners.

District 49 residents should not pay a private entity for assistance in filing the forms. Copies of the forms, as well as assistance with filing them, are also available at my Bentleyville office and www.RepBudCook.com at no cost.

Applicants should be prepared to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Applications are due by June 30.
 
 
Deadline Approaching for 2019 Pennsylvania House Scholarships


Don’t miss the March 1 deadline for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship.

Each year the program awards four-year scholarships to two high school seniors preparing for post-secondary education. The program is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student.

Students must have attained a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school in order to be eligible for a scholarship. Other factors taken into consideration for the awards are a student’s commitment to community, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities and financial need.

The application is available here.

The scholarship is privately funded by individual and corporate donors; no tax or other public funds are used. It is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities.
 
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Office Locations
Big Jim Plaza, LLC, 55 Gosai Drive, Suite 112, Bentleyville PA 15314 | 724-669-2242, 724-669-2290, 724-669-2293 | Fax: 724-669-2296
B-15 Main Capitol, PO Box 202049, Harrisburg PA 17120-2049 | (717) 783-8655 / 3-8655
Email Address: BCook@pahousegop.com