Stimulus checks bring extra money, scams

Monday, April 28th 2008, 1:51 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

The economic stimulus payments the President and Congress approved this winter start going out this week.

Depending on your income level, your rebate check could range from $0 up to $1,200 for a married couple.

Add $300 more for each qualifying child, and some families will be getting upwards of $2,000.

Unfortunately, there are scammers out there trying to take that money from you.

Scammers are always looking for an opportunity to get their hands on money that's not theirs, and apparently these tax rebates are the perfect opportunity.

David Stell, with the Internal Revenue Service, said he has seen bogus e-mails circulating that concern the rebate checks.

"And then if says, ‘To access the form for your tax refund, please click here,'" Stell said. "Clicking there will take you to a Web page that will probably do nothing but ask for personal information."

The scammers are also working the phones.

"People will call up purporting to be from the IRS, saying, you know, ‘In order to get your economic stimulus payment, you have to give us some information.'"

Stell said that should immediately send up a red flag, because you don't have to give out any personal information to get your economic stimulus payment.

"The bottom line is the IRS is not making phone calls, telling people about economic stimulus payments," Stell said. "We're not sending e-mails, telling people about economic stimulus payments or refunds of any type."

Assuming you beat the scammers and get your payment, the government is hoping you'll spend it and help stimulate the economy, but that seems hardly a sure thing, according to folks outside Bass Pro Shops Monday.

"I just think I'm going to pay off some bills," one customer said.

"I don't know that it'll do much to stimulate the economy on my part," another customer said.

The majority of people asked said they are going to use their rebate to pay off bills.

IRS officials said those getting their rebate through direct deposit, should start to see the money in their accounts this week then the IRS starts mailing out paper checks on Friday, May 9.