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Latest scam: bogus emails offering stimulus payments

business Updated: Feb 07, 2009 09:51 IST

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The US Department of Homeland Security has warned that scammers were sending out bogus emails offering economic stimulus payments in an attempt to retrieve personal information.

US-CERT, the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team, said it had received reports of a "phishing" scam involving "fraudulent US Internal Revenue Service emails offering users stimulus package payments."

"These emails include text that attempts to convince users to follow a link to a website or to complete an attached document," US-CERT said on Friday. "The website and document request the user to provide personal information."

In a statement on its website,, US-CERT urged anyone who received one of the fraudulent emails to alert the authorities.

US-CERT was created in 2003 to defend the Internet infrastructure against cyberattack. It is a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the public and private sectors.

Phishing is a common Internet fraud in which perpetrators attempt to steal IDs, passwords and other personal information in an attempt to swindle money.

The fraudsters behind the latest scam would appear to be a bit premature.