The postage permit stamp on the envelope might be a clue.
An official looking envelope addressed to you, a senior citizen, arrives from a place with a Harrisburg return address saying "IMPORTANT TAX REBATE INFORMATION ENCLOSED." And then, "Dated Material. Open Immediately."
Except the postage permit is from El Cajon, Calif.
You open it and find a form that suggests you send your VISA or Mastercard number to the kindly advisory center. Those folks will charge you $41, which includes a $2 credit card fee, for assistance in applying for Pennsylvania's Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.
That's right, folks, step right up, send cash (a $2 discount), check or your credit card number to a post office box in Harrisburg for something you can obtain for free from your local senior center, Area Agency on Aging, or the closest state legislator's office: Rep. Kathy Rapp, Sens. Joseph Scarnati or Mary Jo White in Warren County.
Unfortunately thousands of seniors across the state will get this form in the mail and jump to send money to a "non-government agency" to get something the state of Pennsylvania provides for free through a number of convenient sources.
Oh, yeah, and you have to use your own stamp.
Is this sort of thing illegal? Probably not. But, we believe it is deceptive, and it preys upon those who may not be aware of the many opportunities they have to take advantage of a worthwhile program for free.
By all means, if you are over 65, a widow or widower over 50, or are permanently disabled and over the age of 18, seek out the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. But, don't fall victim to someone who wants to sell you something you have a right to receive for free.