Fake letter targets customers receiving benefits

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RIVERSIDE COUNTY – State and county public social services officials are warning about a fake letter circulating on social media that falsely claims customers must be tested for COVID-19 to continue receiving benefits such as cash aid, CalFresh and Medi-Cal.

The letter bearing the seal of the California Department of Social Services also falsely claims that children will be removed from parents who test positive for COVID-19 and placed into foster care. Riverside County, state and county health services departments will never ask about health status in connection to an application for benefits. Children will not be removed from parents who happen to test positive for the coronavirus or COVID-19.

“At a time when thousands of Riverside County residents are reaching out for help from our public benefits system, for someone to prey on their fears and uncertainties is outrageous,” Allison Gonzalez, assistant director of the Riverside County DPSS’ Self Sufficiency Division, said. “We hope this fake letter doesn’t frighten those in need of support away from the critical programs and services DPSS offers.”

CDSS has alerted the appropriate authorities to investigate. Anyone with helpful information about the source of the letter is asked to contact CDSS at 916-651-8848 or piar@dss.ca.gov.

Residents of Riverside County are urged to disregard the scam letter and not to share it on social media. Riverside County residents who need to apply for benefits such as cash, food and medical assistance are encouraged to do so online at https://C4Yourself.com or by calling the Department of Public Social Services Customer Service Center at 877-410-8827.

Submitted by Riverside County.