Newsroom > DHHS News Release


April 6, 2009

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287


Scam Artists May Target One-Time Economic Recovery Payment

Lincoln – Be aware and don’t be the victim of scam artists trying to intercept the one-time economic recovery payments that will be distributed to eligible people until June 4.

“If someone claiming to be from the IRS or Social Security calls or e-mails to ask for a Social Security, bank account or credit card number, it’s a scam,” said Patty Pierson, State Long-Term Care Ombudsman in the Department of Health and Human Services. “The scammers want your personal and financial information so they can empty your bank account, run up charges on your credit card, or steal your identity.”

The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act could provide a one-time payment of $250 to people who receive certain types of Federal benefits. Most people who are eligible for Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), railroad retirement and/or veterans benefits during November or December 2008 or January 2009 may be eligible for the one-time payment.

The check will automatically come the same way that an individual’s other benefit payments do. For example, if someone’s benefit check is direct-deposited, then the one-time payment check will also be direct-deposited.

“Individuals, their families or caregivers should call 1-800-942-7830 if they think someone is trying to intercept a one-time economic stimulus payment,” Pierson said.

Pierson is program director for Nebraska SMP, a program that operates the 800 number and educates consumers on how to protect themselves from possible healthcare fraud. The program helps individuals identify and report possible Medicare or Medicaid fraud, error or waste, and provides tips on how consumers can protect themselves from healthcare scams. For more information, visit

If eligible people don’t receive their payment by June 4, 2009, they can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Anyone who is not a Social Security or SSI beneficiary and receives only Railroad Retirement or Veterans benefits can go to the Railroad Retirement Board or Department of Veterans Affairs websites at or , respectively.