Paul Crawley, 11 Alive (Atlanta), September 30, 2011
So far, no one has proven it’s a scam, but they haven’t proven it’s for real either.
This week more than 700 senior citizens filled out a rather skimpy form promising a $500 check from the American Opportunities Stimulus Program.
They filled in sensitive information like their name, address, birth date and social security numbers, all with the promise of getting a Visa Check card in return.
But on Thursday, Fulton County government put out a warning that it might be an identity theft scam.
They even sent their own camera crew to the Atlanta headquarters of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, where the forms were being handed out by Vanessa Emerson and her son, Brandon.
In the video Vanessa Emerson can be seen brandishing a photo copy of a U.S. Treasury check saying, “I’m going to show ya’ll, I got my money.”
After the alarm went out, Brandon Emerson returned hundreds of the forms to the NAN headquarters at 632 Peoples Street so they could be given back to the seniors who filled them out.
Even though his mother was wearing a NAN T-shirt in the Fulton County government video, her son claimed they are not affiliated with the organization.
Reached by phone on Friday, Vanessa Emerson said she and her son had no idea the forms they’d been collecting might be fake.