The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has been controversial since before its passage in February of 2009. Everyone seems to have an opinion on whether or not it’s a good idea; if it’s enough or not; or how it should be implemented.
Regardless of the relative merits of the idea, there are many ways of cashing in on the stimulus package and not all of them involve the government.
The enterprising souls who sent out this email have decided to use it to acquire names and email addresses for their marketing efforts:
Subject: What government isn’t telling you …
From: American Recovery Plan Help <ARPH@greatmessageforyourprofit.com>
Here’s a screen shot of the message:
This is another example of marketing that may be technically legal but is not helping anyone but the marketers. Following the “Check here to see all available stimulus programs” link takes you to this site:
The site at theamericanrecoveryplanhelp.com is basically a repackaging of the information provided at the real government web site:
http://www.recovery.gov (they also credit whitehouse.gov and irs.gov)
We submitted one of the forms on the web site just to see what would happen (using a disposable email address) and were run through a gauntlet of additional marketing sites so we could be exposed to their pitches. We also clicked the “more info” button on one of these sites and have received at least five email propositions from HomeJobListings.com in the two hours since we “signed-up”.
On the plus side, this site doesn’t try to plant any viruses or malware on your computer and the information they provide appears to be fairly accurate. Their only crime is to try to game the system a little in order to redirect people who are interested in receiving money from the economic stimulus package and send them to other marketing sites.
In spite of the fact that it’s not quite illegal, we’d call this a scam. It’s sort of like offering to walk a little old lady across the street and taking her three blocks down so she crosses the street in front of your store.
Not very ethical at all.
You can find out more about the real stimulus plan at these legitimate web sites:
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