Letter to the Editor

Protecting community top priority

Sunday, March 22, 2009

To the Editor:

As a former law enforcement officer, my number one priority has always been protecting families and communities.

That's why I wanted to make your readers aware of a recent warning from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about economic stimulus scams that are cropping up around the country.

According to the agency, the scams come in several forms. Some e-mail messages appear to be from government agencies and may ask for personal or bank account information to "verify" that recipients qualify for a stimulus payment.

The scammers then use the information consumers provide to steal their identities or empty their bank accounts.

Other e-mail scams don't ask for information at all. Instead, they include links that supposedly provide information about how to qualify for economic recovery funds. When unsuspecting consumers click on the link, they download malicious software or spyware that can capture personal information from their computers.

In addition, some websites offer a list of economic recovery grants in exchange for a small fee. The con-artists then steal the credit card information or charge consumers hundreds of thousands of dollars for failing to cancel the service.

You can help us prevent these scams from harming honest, hardworking Americans. If you have received a suspicious e-mail or are a victim of one of these scams, please consider a complaint with the FTC online at http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

The information you provide can help the government monitor criminal activity and warn consumers about new scams.

For safe, reliable information about the programs and opportunities provided in the recent economic recovery plan, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, please visit the 8th District Online Office at www.ellsworth.house.gov/economicrecovery.


Brad Ellsworth