Avoiding scam artists
The president's stimulus package has opened a Pandora's box of fraudulent opportunities. Gerri gives her tips on how to avoid being taken in.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The federal government's plan to revive the ailing economy is stimulating business already - for con artists at least.
As soon as the stimulus bill was passed last month, scam artists were hard at work trying to devise a way to get your money.
The Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau and Federal Bureau of Investigation are warning people about scams related to the stimulus. One scam involves an ad that says you can order a CD or an "easy grant solution kit" that will show you how to get thousands of dollars in government grants. But, of course, it's not free. And your credit card could be charged repeatedly.
Here's another scam that's tripping people up as we wade through tax season this year: e-mails claiming to be from the IRS saying you're owed a tax refund. Here's an example of an e-mail that was sent to a CNN-staffer:
"After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Tax refund value is $189.60. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to IWP the data received."
Remember the IRS does not e-mail taxpayers with requests for personal information, and does it doesn't ask for bank account or other personal information by phone.
Scam artists are really crawling out of the woodwork everywhere you turn - be it work-at-home scams, tax scams, mortgage fraud or foreclosure scams.
You really need to be vigilant now.
If you have been contacted by a scam artist, make sure you file a complaint.
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