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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | May 2, 2008

Just as the nation seems ready to turn the corner economically, there are rip-off artists trying to ruin everything.

The Internal Revenue Service is reporting that one of the latest scams is related to the economic stimulus payment checks. Taxpayers will get their rebates automatically after filing their 2007 income tax returns.

Now scam artists are E-mailing some taxpayers and telling them that they need to reveal personal financial information, such as bank account numbers, in order to receive their rebates. That’s information that the scam artists need to use for identity theft.

The best thing to do if you’re approached by these scallywags is to not respond to any E-mail from the IRS. The IRS does not contact taxpayers in that manner.

What you should do is report such suspicious E-mails to the IRS at <phishing@irs.gov>.

The same goes for any suspicious telephone call that you might receive. If it is indeed the IRS that is trying to contact you, they will probably do it through the mail.

Unfortunately, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s boon or disaster, there are rip-off artists out there who will try to take advantage of people whenever they can. From Hurricane Katrina, when wealthy individuals reaped money for “damages” to their property that never happened, to the latest financial incentive ripoff, there are people out there who want your money. And if you aren’t careful, they’ll get it from you.

Never give personal information to people who you don’t know you can trust. And be sure to report such suspicious activity to your local or federal law enforcement agency.

And if you have been taken, don’t feel too embarrassed to report it to law enforcement. If they did it to you, chances are they’ll do it to someone else.