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Beware Stimulus Check Scams

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Stimulus Checks!I went to a conference of internet marketers a few weeks ago and spent some time learning from some of the best and the brightest in the industry. One of the things I came away with was the prevalence of “stimulus check” related scams that were floating around the web. I don’t think any of the people attending were involved in pushing these offers because the general consensus was that if you were involved, it was only a matter of time before the FTC dropped the hammer and penalized you heavily for your involvement.

Well, surprise surprise, the FTC released a consumer alert warning consumers about stimulus scams:

But the promise of stimulus money in return for a fee or financial information is always a scam, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency.

There’s more than one way to perpetuate a stimulus scam. Some scam artists ask you to send a small processing fee, supposedly to get a much larger check in return. That’s money you’ll never see again. Others skip the fee, and instead, ask for your bank account number so they can “deposit” your check. Then, they use the information to clean out your account or open new ones using your identifying information.

If you are entitled to a check, nothing you do now will make it come faster and nothing you do will risk forfeiture of the payment if you are justly due one. It’s really a wrinkle on the government grant scam, where you pay for a CD teaching you how to apply for and be approved for government grants, but this time it’s preying on folks looking for a check. What should do if you see one of these offers?

Kiplinger’s Kimberly Lankford recommends that you “file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission. For warnings about e-mail hoaxes and phishing scams, see the FBI’s Cyber Investigations Web site. You can also check out companies and learn about recent scams at the Better Business Bureau’s Web site. Also see the IRS’s information about phishing and e-mail scams.”

And lastly, if it sounds too good to be true…

(Photo: brapps)

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4 Responses to “Beware Stimulus Check Scams”

  1. tom says:

    Isn’t a bit silly to see this kind of stuff and actually believe its true?

    I see this happen almost daily at my job, I see people sending money for supposed lottery winnings.

    I think it is the greed that people hold that drives them to just go with it.

    Same thing with online banking, receiving email claiming how your bank has suspended your account or they need you to update your info.
    If that were true, the bank would not email you, they would call you.

  2. I have always wondered why people are ever tricked by this kind of scam, but I guess it is just greed. Pretty funny…

    Thanks,
    Nate

  3. I had a friend email me about some of these scams popping up as ads on social networking sites. He also pointed out that I had an Adsense ad on my site offering a 12k stimulus check. These are definitely a problem. I don’t think, however, I would call it greed. I think it’s just that times are tough for a lot of people and they’re uneducated as to how the stimulus is going to work b/c it’s complex and different from the stimulus checks we got under the last administration. I’m glad you’re posting about things like this in order to bring them to people’s attention.

  4. thomas says:

    These ads are all over the place. Sure, most of the blame is on the scavengers placing the ads, but come on. I can’t believe the stupidity of people.


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