MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Facebook users, you need to be on the lookout.
A common scam is doing the rounds and could pop up in your inbox.
Scammers pretend to be your friends and inform users about a government grant opportunity that could earn you money.
“I should have known better, but they caught me and I paid the price,” said Jaqueline Matthews.
It all started with a message on Facebook. Someone posing as Matthews’ friend asked her if she had heard of a new government grant.
“He asked me if I had heard of the GEG grant. I was like, ‘No, what is this?’ He said you can tell them why you need the money and you don’t have to pay it back,” Matthews said.
Matthews received a text number. Someone on the other end of the line told her she would have to pay a fee and then get $35,000 back.
She ended up sending over $900 virtually and in gift cards to the scammer.
“It makes my stomach sick, you would be attacking people who are already struggling,” Matthews said.
Government grant scams like these are nothing new.
But now the Better Business Bureau says scammers are using inflation and high gas prices to prey on people who are already struggling.
“As gas prices soar and inflation worsens, we’re going to see more and more of this scam,” Daniel Irwin with the MidSouth BBB.
Irwin said the scammers will do their best to convince you that they are part of a government agency.
But there are warning signs you can pay attention to.
“The government doesn’t just give grants like that,” Irwin said. “They certainly don’t advertise on Facebook and the grants are free money. You will never have to pay for a grant.
As for Matthews, she has a message for those who do this.
“For you to go after someone who is barely succeeding, you are sick. Something is seriously wrong with you,” she said. “But I want you to know that God is watching you and you’re not going to get away with this.”
If you think you have paid a scammer, you should act quickly and report it to the BBB or the police.
You can also contact the company you paid the money with and tell them that it was a fraudulent transaction.
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