updated 3/4/2009 1:58:27 PM ET 2009-03-04T18:58:27

You already know you shouldn't believe everything you read online — but now here's something else to watch out for.

The government says there are scams operating on the Web and through e-mail, offering to help consumers qualify for a payment from President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package.

The consumers are then asked to provide a little information, or a small payment.

The scammers often use the information to drain the consumer's bank account, or to commit identity theft.

Some e-mails offer links, supposedly to information on how to qualify. By clicking on the links, consumers have downloaded spyware.

The Federal Trade Commission says consumers who've already given up credit card information as part of these scams should check their bills for unauthorized charges.

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