How the scam works:
(with video below) Say you receive a Facebook message from your sister, mom, brother, or just a friend. Not suspecting anything, you start reading: “Hey, make time today to apply for this federal grant. It’s not advertised publicly. I got the info from someone at work, so I am sure you will get it. It’s what you need, and you can only get it today! I am in meetings for the next few hours, so my phone is off. I will call you as soon as I am done”.
She gives you a link, which seems to be a Government webpage. They are giving a $12,000 federal grant to hard working individuals who either own a small business or are thinking of opening one. The grant is available only today, so you really have to get the ball rolling ASAP. You download the form and might even call the phone number listed, for more information.
After you are assured that you completed everything properly and your chances to get the grant are high, you submit the application along with a $199 fee.
You are told to wait five business days for the official results, but they'll never come. What happened? Scammers create bogus Government pages with fake phone numbers then hack into people’s Facebook accounts and start sending messages like the one above.
Watch the video below to see the Grant Through Facebook scam narrated by a victim:
How to avoid:
The crooks have everything set up so when you read your sister’s message you notice the fact that she won’t answer her phone, so you know not to call her. Even worse, the scammers could even talk to you live on Facebook using the chat feature, while you really think it is your sister. You only have a few business hours to apply and criminals make everything possible to avoid the victims calling the other person. Always refuse to proceed if you are rushed to pay a fee, especially in a case like this. Talk to the real person who sent you the message. If you really can’t speak to them, examine the website very carefully. Click on the links that should be on the real Government’s website, to see if they all take you where they claim they do (on an official website there are always links to their programs and services, contacts in different departments, news releases, etc).
Always do your research online. If you are really looking to make some money through social media or reward systems, there a couple of alternatives that are trustworthy and can offer you great opportunities:
If you are into paid surveys, this is the place. GlobalTestMarket is an industry leader in online research panels, where members are invited to participate in online surveys on numerous topics, and in return are eligible for cash or regular and frequent entry into sweepstakes. Highly recommended, as they also have A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. You can register for free HERE.
Swagbucks.com is the world's largest free online rewards program. You get paid by doing things online which you might do anyway, such as searching the web, discover products, take surveys, watch videos, or play games. You can also get free iTunes and Amazon cards. The company has a A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. It takes a minute to register, but the rewards are great. You can register for free HERE.
How to report:
Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You'll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
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Week May 12-18, 2016
|1. Gift Delivery Scam|
|2. Passport Renewal Scam|
|3. Home Water Filtration System Scam|
|4. Low Interest Financing Scam|
|5. Webinar Participation Scam|
Scam Detector Gives Back To The Community
Scam Detector recently partnered with Travel by Dart, an inspirational web-series where two friends blindfoldedly throw a dart at the world map and travel wherever it lands, with the purpose of helping the land or the people. Click HERE or on the image below to watch the trailer of the series!