A Henry County man has been scammed out of $18,000 after falling victim to a government grant scam. The scammers contacted the victim on Facebook Messenger posing as his brother-in-law, who gave him information about a supposed government grant.
After contacting someone posing as a government official, the scammers asked him to send money, gift cards, and personal information to get his grant.
According to his wife, the victim was ill when he was scammed.
The Better Business Bureau ScamTracker received 346 reports of government grant scams nationwide in 2022, through June 21. The total amount lost so far is $486,852.
According to the BBB, in typical government grant scams, scammers will contact victims by phone, email or social media. They will claim that you have to pay a fee, either to get the grant or to pay a processing fee. Subsidies entice consumers with their claims of free money that you never have to pay back, but the money doesn’t exist and the scammers pocket the processing or security fees.
BBB has some tips for spotting government grant scams:
- Scammers would have you believe that government grants are there to be taken. In reality, obtaining a government grant is a complex process, in which the grant seeker pursues the funds, not the other way around. If someone is actively soliciting you for money, that’s a red flag that you’re dealing with an impostor.
- If you have to pay money to claim a free government grant, it’s not really free. A real government agency will not ask you to pay advanced processing fees.
- Check lookalikes. A caller may say they are from an administration or service that is not real. Be sure to do your research and see if an agency or organization actually exists. Find your details on your own and call them to make sure the person you heard about is legit. The only official list of all US federal granting agencies is www.grants.gov.
- Be careful with unsolicited calls asking for your banking information.
Report suspicious activity to BBB.org/ScamTracker to help other consumers avoid being scammed.