SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) – Has anyone ever contacted you on Facebook about obtaining free grant money from the government? If so, you're not alone, and there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
According to the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, five percent of the 1,644 scams reported to SCDCA in 2016 were government grant scams. Of those, 18 percent started on Facebook.
Facebook scammers netted $25,750 from South Carolinians, five times more than phone scammers. They use a cloned account to contact newly-added friends, touting a way to get free grant money from the government, including a list of other friends who have allegedly done so. They typically include a phony link that requests personal information and a payment to cover processing fees.
Consumers should stay on guard online and:
- Remember real government grant programs don’t require upfront payments to receive the
- Regularly monitor Facebook security settings and set their profile to private.
- Never share personal or financial information through potentially unsecure means such as
- email or Facebook.
- Check their friend list for the person before accepting the request. If something seems out
- of the ordinary, call your friend directly.
- “Unfriend” anyone sending suspicious messages immediately.
Call 844-835-5322 to report a scam.