Scam Artists Already Using Stimulus Plan As Bait

The Boston Globe:

Some people just can’t help themselves when they see an opportunity to make money off those who can least afford it.

When times are tough, people tend to be a bit more vulnerable when someone is dangling the idea of free money in front of them.

Scammers being who they are – those with a business plan built around conning others out of their money – are now seeing the federal economic stimulus plan as a hook to rip you off.

The Small Business Administration reports that letters are being sent out on stationery purporting to be from the SBA telling small-business owners they might be eligible for tax rebates under the stimulus plan. The letter asks the business owner to send in bank account information.

Similarly, the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team warns of a fraudulent e-mail that appears to be coming from the Internal Revenue Service. It also asks recipients to fill out a form with their personal information.

These are both so-called phishing scams, aimed at collecting information that would allow the perpetrators access to your money and credit.

If you get a realistic looking letter or e-mail asking for your personal information, do not click the links or use the phone numbers or Web addresses they provide.

Scammers can set up very elaborate ruses that include verifying the legitimacy of the con by answering the provided phone number or creating believable websites.

Photo by woodsy.

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