Social media is a great way to connect with old friends and dear family members, but it’s also a big target for scams. How many of you have gotten a message on Facebook that sounds a little fishy? I know I have. Well, one woman nearly fell for a scam when catching up with her grandmother.
“I had received a message from my grandmother on Facebook and as it turns out, it actually wasn’t from her,” Bethany told me. “She had given me a name and phone number for somebody coming from the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program. You provide them your name and they tell you if you’re on a list to be a beneficiary to receive a check.”
A quick side note, the legitimate catalog is a list of assistance programs offered by government agencies. I’ve never heard of scammers citing this program before, so it’s new to me.
“I contacted them through text and I received several messages going back and forth to see if my name was in their system. Apparently, my name was chosen at random from a database to receive funds as a beneficiary,” said Bethany.
The guy told her she was eligible for thousands of dollars, but there’s a catch.
“I was really excited at the prospect of having $95,000 but then I thought, ‘You know what, nothing is free and there’s something that’s really strange about this,’” said Bethany. “I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody about it until after I received the funds and they gave me a badge number, serial number, and reference number to keep everything confidential.”
“Then I was going to have to pay for some documentation fees and I was given a total of $2,500,” said Bethany. That’s when she knew for sure it was a scam.
Bethany talks with her grandmother on Facebook often, so she was angry to find out the scammers had hacked her account. I told her to report the conversation to Facebook so they could fix the problem.
“My grandmother is in her 80s,” said Bethany. “Leave her alone.”
A couple other odd scams I want to tell you about this week. First, one man got a phone call saying he was going to be charged for a subscription unless he called the number back to cancel it, only the caller didn’t give any information about what the subscription was for.
“We have an automatic subscription and if we want to cancel the subscription, call this number,” John told me. “The message doesn’t say who it’s from and it’s like it’s picking up from mid-sentence. I do have subscriptions but I have no idea what this is for.”
The scammers are trying to pique your interest so you’ll call back and give them information or money. Just delete the voicemail and block the number.
I also heard an interesting twist about a phone number that was being spoofed in our area. Another man named Johnny told me he got a call from a local number, so he called the number back to see what the caller wanted. The call ended up going through to a local school principal. She told him that she didn’t call him and the two figured out her number was being spoofed by scammers.
“I just let her know and gave her awareness that her number was being used,” said Johnny. “She said, ‘That’s crazy.’ She thought maybe I had a child there.”
Remember, crooks can make it look like they’re calling from any number. They mask their number so it looks like they are calling from a local phone number so you’ll pick up the phone or call back. In reality, they are probably calling from overseas. My advice is don’t even bother calling back, it’s probably a scam.