Connecticut Better Business Bureau Warns About Scams Involving Economic Stimulus Checks

Thousands of complaints filed with Internal Revenue Service.

Wallingford, CT, May 23, 2008 --( Better Business Bureau of Connecticut is warning taxpayers to be wary of unsolicited telephone calls and e-mails referring to their economic stimulus checks.

The Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) says thousands of people have complained about scammers impersonating Internal Revenue Service employees in an effort to obtain personal information.

“This is another example of why consumers must constantly be on guard about giving out personal information, and to whom they give it,” says Connecticut BBB President Paulette Hotton.

In one of the scams, would-be I.R.S. workers claim to need an individual’s social security number and bank account number to “process the direct deposit” of the economic stimulus check.

In a similar scheme, you may receive an e-mail in which you are encouraged to fill out an electronic form asking for personal information, leaving yourself vulnerable to identity theft.

“No legitimate company,” adds Hotton, “will ask you to supply personal information by e-mail.” Hotton recommends against not giving out personal information at all when a call or e-mail is unsolicited.

I.R.S. Special Agent Philip Okonek says “The I.R.S. does not communicate with e-mail or call taxpayers.” BBB and the I.R.S. urge you to consider whom you are speaking with and what information they seek. Okonek says the I.R.S. doesn’t need to ask taxpayers for personal information, because it is already on file in tax returns.

The I.R.S. agent adds that the Service already has all of the information it needs to direct-deposit a government refund check.

Better Business Bureau CT
Howard Schwartz
203-279-2700 ext. 103