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Just when millions of Americans are busy mentally spending their likely tax rebate check from the government ('hmm... a new flat-screen TV or a vacation to Disney this Easter?'), comes a new scam.

The Internal Revenue Service is warning that email and telephone con artists are attempting to grab taxpayers personal financial information (all the better to steal your identity with, my dear), by saying that if they hand it over, they will get their rebate check all the sooner.

One reported phone scam asks people for their bank account information so the rebate could supposedly be supplied direct deposit. An email scam sends a message, supposedly from the IRS, and asks the recipient to click over to a site and enter personal information in order to claim their rebate (a new flavor of 'phishing.')

The IRS wants to remind everyone that not only does it NOT COLLECT INFORMATION BY TELEPHONE (got that?), but Congress hasn't even enacted the legislation that would allow for the tax rebate to be sent. Last week the House voted for a plan that would supply most Americans a rebate of $600 for individuals and $1,200 for couples, plus an extra $300 per child. The Senate will vote on a different version.

Once they vote, the check will show up in the mail. There will be anything else you need to do to claim it, besides filing your income tax.


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