— The Better Business Bureau is warning the public of scammers that have recently turned to Facebook.
Scammers will hack into people’s Facebook accounts and message their friends and family claiming that they’re eligible for grants. They’re then asked to send in a small amount of money via wire or prepaid gift card to receive their winnings.
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According to a BBB Scam Tracker report, a Springfield woman lost $2,000 in a Facebook grant scam. The scammer, posing as the woman’s pastor’s wife, told her she was eligible for a $150,000 grant but would have to pay $2,000 up front via gift cards.
When the woman reached out to her pastor’s wife, she didn’t know anything about the grant.
Here are the BBB’s tips to protect yourself from this scam:
- Don’t assume an offer in a message from a Facebook friend is legit. Call or talk to them in person to verify if they contacted you.
- Be wary of unsolicited messages as government agencies do not communicate through social media avenues like Facebook.
- Don’t pay for a “free” grant. It’s not free if you have to pay to claim it. Also, do not send money via wire or prepaid gift cards.
- Educate yourself on the terms of a grant. To receive a grant, you must first apply for it and go through an extensive process. You can visit www.grants.gov for a list of nearly all grants available to the public.
- If you or someone you know has been a victim of a grant scam, report it to the BBB Scam Tracker.