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Beware the bogus economic-stimulus e-mail

New phishing e-mails appear to be payout offers related to an economic-stimulus package. In reality, they're looking to steal sensitive information from recipients.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills

Online scammers, always quick to exploit the latest news event, are sending out e-mails promising economic-stimulus package payments but that instead steal sensitive data, the US-CERT warned on Friday.

The e-mails are disguised to look like official Internal Revenue Service communications. They offer a link to a Web site that asks for personal information or include a form that needs to be filled out and returned, the security organization said in an alert.

People who receive the fraudulent e-mail messages are encouraged to send the e-mail message and the Web site URL to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

CERT advises people against following unsolicited Web links in e-mails and offers more tips on its Web site.

The U.S. Senate was debating President Obama's $920 million economic-stimulus plan on Friday after the House of Representatives had approved a version.