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Online scam luring victims with promise of free money

Facebook grant scam fooling more victims
Posted at 7:14 AM, Sep 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-06 08:14:25-04

It's a promise that's just too hard to pass up. Free money from friends. There’s one big problem. Those supposed friends are scammers!

"I'm usually not that stupid," says Sheila.

She doesn't want to give her last name. She isn't very happy with herself. Sheila received a Facebook message from a friend, about a major grant being offered for seniors in debt.


"Since my friend was on the other side telling me that it was a legit thing, I figured okay, it must be alright," says Sheila.

She wound up in touch with someone who asked for her information, in order to apply.

"I did give them my name, address and phone number, date of birth and all that kind of stuff," says Sheila.


Then all she had to do was pay a small fee for processing.

"They wanted $100, either an Amazon gift certificate or Google play card," says Sheila.

She sent the money and was told she was eligible to receive $149,000.

"But then the rub is, oh it will cost you $1,250," says Sheila.


That's when Sheila realized the offer was too good to be true.

"And I said I don't think so. Thank you very much, but no thank you," says Sheila.

"First and foremost, if you are not actively seeking a grant, why would anybody contact you?" says Rhonda Mettler with the Better Business Bureau.


The BBB wants you to remember, grants are free. That's red flag number one.

"There's not going to be any upfront fees," says Mettler.


Number two: there's always an application process. That's going to include a lot of carefully crafted paperwork.


Which brings us to red flag number three: Watch for poor grammar. Sheila admits she should have known better.

"Their grammar wasn't really good," says Sheila.


And red flag number four: Make sure you know who you're talking to. Sheila emailed her friend and learned his Facebook was actually hacked.

"I said, did you send me this? He said no, I did not. I did not," says Sheila.

In the end, Sheila only lost $100. But it could have been worse and she wants others to know:

"Just like to warn other people don't be stupid like I was... They were pretty crafty," says Sheila.

Click here for more information about grant scams.

Click here if you want to know more about legitimate grants.

Click here for the top 10 scams targeting seniors last year, according to the Senate aging committee’s 2019 Fraud Book.

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