Caveat emptor--buyer beware! Before President Obama even signed the recent economic stimulus package into law, scam sites were thrown up and spam emails spewed forth offering unsuspecting punters the chance to submit their personal information to see if they were eligible to receive a piece of the pie--and how much.
The LA Times is reporting that sites such as jessicasmoneyblog.com and presidentobamagrants.com have been luring people in with the promise that they would cut through the red tape and get the government money in the post. Although neither of these sites is still active, probably due to action by the Federal Trade Commission and the Council of Better Business Bureaus, others remain hard to shut down.
One Phillippines-registered site, www.federalgovernmentgrantsolutions.com, is still operating, luring you to send in cash to receive your "free" Grant Program CDs; otherwise, "[y]ou could lose hundreds of dollars you didn't know you had." Interestingly, their form really only seems concerned to know your first name, and not your surname, but we'll pretend that did not happen.
PC World is reporting that some sites even make use of Obama's image. Clicking on a Google text ad that says "I Got a $12,000 Stimulus Check in Less than 7 days. Get Yours!" will take you to this site:
In this case to get the "service" working for you to get you your cash, you have got to sign up to a monthly credit-card-funded subscription of $79.95. The terms and conditions state that you have got seven days to cancel the service before your first charge of $79.95, but of course the unwary punter is likely to pay for the first month's subscription and wait around for longer than seven days to see if anything comes of it: the Google ad may have said that someone got his/her "Stimulus Check in Less than 7 days" but most people would likely wait around longer than that, thus guaranteeing the scammers at least one month's subscription (putting people who signed up at least $79.95 out of pocket before the penny drops).
Eileen Harrington of the FTC warns, "The bottom line on this is, these are scams. The stimulus is not passing out checks to individual consumers."