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FTC Alert: Scammers on Prowl

The Federal Trade Commission has issued an alert that scammers are on the prowl to dupe the unsuspecting public using President Obama’s economic stimulus plan. The scammers are using various ways such as E-Mails in which they proclaim they can help people qualify for a payment from government’s stimulus package. In return, they ask for some personal information or some small payment.

The personal information they ask for may include your bank account details. Here you are given the impression that the operators will deposit your share of the stimulus money directly into your bank account. In fact, they do just the opposite; they drain your account of your hard earned money and vanish. Another way used by the scam artists is that of an E-Mail that appears like a genuine government E-Mail and asks for information so that you can prove that you are eligible for that government payment. This information provided by you is used by the scammers to commit identity theft. They may also provide a link through which you are supposed to confirm whether you qualify for the payment or not. These links, however, download malicious software to your computer which then helps the scammers steal your identity.

Many of the advertising sites deceive you through deceptive names or pictures of President Obama or Vice President Biden. FTC has warned people not to fall for these tricks or they’ll be deceived.

There are sites that suggest that consumers can get access to a list of economic stimulus grants by paying as little as $1.99. But here again, the possibility remains that your credit card number may be misused, or the amount of $1.99 may turn out to be the down payment of a negative option that may cost you much more in the longer term if you are not alert.

FTC says that those who have fallen into the scammers’ trap should keep an eye on their credit card statements and should immediately contact FTC if they notice any irregularity in those statements.