July 9-15, 2018
If it sounds too good to be true ...
By Nan Selz
Executive Council, AARP Arkansas
Herb Sanderson, the State Director of AARP Arkansas, recently sent out an email reminding the public to beware of an old scam with a new twist thanks to social media.
Social media has become a new method of promoting the enticing prospect that you too are eligible for a grant from the federal government. Posts on Facebook claim that people have been awarded tens of thousands of dollars in such grants. They imply that you might be eligible for a similar grant.
To initiate the process, you are told to call the phone number listed in the post. Once on the phone, you are asked for some personal information and are told that you qualify for the grant. You are told, however, that a processing fee is required.
You are asked either to send a money order or to provide information about your bank account to cover this fee. Even if you send the money order or give out your banking information, you never get the grant. Moreover, you are out the “processing fee” or possibly much more if the scammer gains access to your bank account.
The scammers usually claim they are with the “Federal Grants Administration”, but there is no such agency. Government grants never require a processing fee, and federal grants and information about them are free. Furthermore, obtaining a federal grant requires an application, usually a fairly extensive one, not just a brief exchange of information on the telephone.
You should never send money or provide your personal banking information over the phone. If you think you have been the victim of a government grant scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.complaint or call 1-877-382-4357.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network connects you to the latest information about fraud and identity theft. The Fraud Watch Network is on Facebook and on Twitter at #fraudwatch. You can join at http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/