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A few months ago, just after President Bush announced his economic stimulus plan, I received an email from the Internal Revenue Service. Or so I thought.

The message looked authentic, from the color scheme to the font. There was a link to a website, which also looked legit. If I filled out a form, it read, with pieces of pertinent financial information (checking account number, social security number, etc.), the IRS would directly deposit my rebate check in my bank account.


Suspicious, I looked at the web address. It was something spurious.

Every day, thousands of people fall victim to scams -- by phone, online, and in person. If you get an email like the one I got, which raises a red flag or two, you can use these sites to check their veracity:

The AARP keeps a list of scams, and offers advice on what you should do if you think you have been, or might be, scammed.

The FBI has recommendations.

And craigslist, trading post for everything and anything, advises prospective buyers to be wary, too.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.