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Scam artists are trying to profit from the federal government’s new program that helps consumers buy or lease a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.

According to a new consumer alert from the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, people should be on the lookout for so-called “cash for clunker” Web sites that ask for personal information – including name, address, and Social Security number – that they claim is necessary to “register” for the program. The scam artists behind these sites are phishing for personal information that can be used to commit identity theft and other frauds.

While many Web sites provide details about the CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) program, there is only one official government site – – and it does not ask for personal information. The FTC says consumers who come across a “cash for clunkers” Web site that encourages them to disclose personal information should report it to the FTC at, or 1-877-FTC-HELP.

The consumer alert, Steer Clear of “Cash for Clunkers” Scams, is at

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(FYI cash for clunkers scam)

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