Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Issues Urgent Warning About IRS Email Scam Promising Stimulus Payments

February 6, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today warned Connecticut consumers about a bogus email notice purportedly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) informing consumers that they are entitled to a "Stimulus Payment" from the U.S. government.

In reality, the notice is an online identity theft scam to gain access to consumers' social security numbers and other personal information.

Blumenthal said the email messages are designed to look like they come from the IRS, and direct consumers to complete the attached "Stimulus Payment Form," which requires consumers to disclose certain personal information, including their social security numbers.

The link attached to the email, however, apparently leads to the scammers' website. Consumers who provide their information and submit the payment form never receive any payment and have instead exposed themselves to identity theft.

"This stimulus scam cynically exploits the expectation of a windfall from the government -- promising consumers cash, but then cashing in on consumers' bank accounts," Blumenthal said.

"Unsolicited and unexpected emails seeking personal information and promising payments deserve deletion. Stimulus payment promises should come from your accountant, not cyberspace strangers.

"Consumers should always be wary of any message or caller seeking social security numbers or banking information. No matter how official the message or enticing the offer, consumers should hang up, hit delete and report such correspondence to my office -- never divulging personal, private information to unsolicited individuals."

Consumers who believe they were victimized by this or a similar scam should immediately report the incident to the Attorney General's Office by calling (860) 808-5420.