Scams exist in every industry, but there are some particularly egregious ones. GrantWatch customer service team has heard a lot of stories from customers, and as they explained to us get plenty of calls from people looking for more information on grants, funding, and the entire process of being able to be given money for a personal project. They’ve received emails and inquiries that are heartbreaking, from people all over the world, who have heard of an opportunity to get “free money” or a “grant” as long as they complete several steps required, like providing a social security number or sending in a processing fee.
Some of the worst ones involving scams deliberately targeting vulnerable populations, especially the elderly. One such scam made a victim of a woman in Maryland Heights, who was made the target of a scam that involved promising government grants for seniors on a fixed income.
A woman in Maryland Heights, Missouri, was sent a message by a friend that she trusted on Facebook messenger, about an opportunity to get a $60,000 grant from the government. She says that she thinks her friend’s account was compromised, which Facebook has an entire page dedicated to avoiding. She then spoke to a woman who asked for various personal details and informed her that she had been approved for the “grant.” Next, she was told that she would have to cover “processing fees” by buying gift cards and then forwarding the numbers on the back so that the money placed on the cards could be withdrawn.
This method of having scammers request a person to use a gift card is quite popular according to the FTC. The woman, who is seventy years old, says that she withdrew money and sent the numbers of $1,000 worth of gift cards before she became suspicious of the entire process. That $1,000 was almost her entire paycheck for the month. Unfortunately, these kinds of scams, and similarly egregious ones, are all too common, and the Federal Trade Commission has a hotline to report any occurrences of a scam.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, report it by calling the FTC toll-free at 1-877-FTC-HELP, or report it here.
Authored by Lianne Hikind