Reverse Phone Number Lookup Helps Protect Consumers from Fraud

It was only a matter of time before the new wave of scams cashing in on the popular concept of the economic stimulus swept the nation. The ads promise consumers that the government is handing out large chunks of cash they never have to repay. The Web sites offer to provide information and facilitate government cash giveaways, and only charge for shipping and handling. To pay the shipping fee, you must provide personal information with a credit card number, and next thing you know, you are being charged monthly $80-90 membership fees that were not previously mentioned, and it is unclear what service they provide in return. Moreover, small print threatens with all types of "vigorous" legal action and serious repercussions for the consumer in response to any refund requests.

An investigation of several clusters of such similar sites determined they shared the same address and phone number. According to a reverse phone number lookup, they all led to the same company, and all the numbers were operated by the same Voice over IP service. The site links were altered daily, each time pointing to different sites.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau warn that it's yet another pervasive attempt to defraud the public, explaining that the stimulus doesn't hand out large sums of money to individuals. Even if a consumer qualifies for some type of government grant, it is not necessary to pay these companies for the same information available free of charge. And when in doubt, using reverse phone number lookup will alert one to fraud and prevent monetary or other serious losses.