AG warns public of stimulus scams

n The bogus e-mails and Web sites ask for personal info that can be used for identity theft.
By Carlie Kollath
Daily Journal
TUPELO – Attorney General Jim Hood says fraudulent Web sites and e-mails are offering consumers help in getting money from President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package.
The scams vary, but most ask for consumer information such as bank account or credit card numbers.
So far, Hood’s office has had one complaint from a Mississippi resident. Jan Schaefer, his public information officer, said the staff also has fielded several questions and she expects those to increase.
“We sent out the warning to get out ahead of the problem,” she said.
Some examples of scams:
n E-mails asking for bank account information so the operator can directly deposit the stimulus payment to the consumer’s account. Instead, the scammer drains the account and disappears.
n E-mails that look like they are from government agencies and ask for information to verify that you qualify. The information is used for identity theft.
n E-mails that look officials and send you to a link to find out if you qualify. The link then downloads malicious software.
n Sites or e-mails that offer to sell a list of economic stimulus grants. Once you provide your credit number, it can be used for identity theft or the scammer can keep charging it.
If you have been a victim of these scams, call the consumer protection division of the AG’s office at (800) 281-4418 and the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 383-4357.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Carlie Kollath