EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary, Meg Snead, advised residents of the commonwealth on Thursday of a potential scam targeting recipients of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP.)
In a statement released on Thursday by the DHS, Snead warns Pennsylvania residents that there are individuals going door-to-door, asking LIHEAP recipients to see their bills to ensure they are actually receiving the correct LIHEAP funds.
However, LIHEAP is given directly to a household’s utility company or the home heating fuel provider, as a grant, and neither DHS nor the utility companies would solicit information from LIHEAP recipients in that way, the statement reads.
“If you have received unsolicited visits asking you about your LIHEAP benefits and for your personal information, it is a scam. Do not respond so you do not fall victim to identity theft, and please inform the DHS fraud tip-line immediately,” Snead stated.
Also according to the statement, LIHEAP is provided annually to administer assistance to homeowners and renters for their heating bills so low-income Pennsylvanians can stay warm during the winter season.
Pre-season applications are being mailed to previous recipients of LIHEAP and can be submitted by a paper application or online via COMPASS.
The DHS says that the regular season will begin on November 1 and run through April 28, and DHS will release information to the public on the benefit amounts closer to the opening of the 2022-2023 LIHEAP season.
Applications for other public assistance programs can be submitted online via COMPASS or if clients can’t access the internet, services are available on-site at the County Assistance Office.
Clients are asked to report any text or other interaction about DHS benefits that seem suspicious by calling the fraud tip line, at 1-844-DHS-TIPS (1-844-347-8477).