About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.

Got a Message Promising a Government Grant? You Might Want to Verify the Source

A recent surge in online scams exploits Facebook Messenger, tricking users into believing their friends have received government grants
Facebook logo | Getty Images | Photo by Chesnot
Facebook logo | Getty Images | Photo by Chesnot
Social networking site Facebook is displayed on a laptop screen | Getty Images | Photo by Dan Kitwood
Social networking site Facebook is displayed on a laptop screen | Getty Images | Photo by Dan Kitwood

Social media has become a hub for people to interact freely and for strangers to become friends, but it has also opened up avenues for scammers lurking around in the digital world to target unsuspecting victims and rob them. The threat has been highlighted once again by the discovery of a new scam involving Facebook Messenger, which is manipulating the trust people have in their friends, leading to potential financial losses. This scam falsely promises government grants to unsuspecting users, leveraging the credibility gained from hacked accounts of known individuals.

The scam begins innocuously with a message, seemingly from a friend on Facebook, claiming the receipt of a substantial government grant. The victim, recognizing the sender as a friend, is more likely to trust the message. The scammer, masquerading as the friend, then encourages the recipient to apply for this non-existent grant, promising substantial financial aid.

One of the many targeted using this tactic was a York County resident named Barbara, who reported receiving such a message, which promised her a $100,000 check from the government, but only after she paid a $500 fee for delivery and taxes. This fee to be paid upfront is enough to raise an alarm, as genuine government grants do not operate in this manner. But the temptation of a massive payout and the message coming from a known account, prevents the victim from spotting this obvious red flag.

As opposed to the claims made in these fake messages, the government does not distribute grants casually to individuals for personal expenses. Legitimate government grants involve a formal application process and are earmarked for specific purposes, usually linked to community projects, research, or education. The scam targets individuals who are unaware of these facts, and exploits their trust as well as hope for financial aid.

Social networking site Facebook | Getty Images | Photo by Dan Kitwood
Social networking site Facebook | Getty Images | Photo by Dan Kitwood

The scam is orchestrated through hacked Facebook accounts, and messages, while seemingly from a friend, are composed and sent by scammers. If you receive such a message, it's crucial to understand that you are not in immediate danger unless you respond or engage with the scammer. The best course of action is to ignore the message and reach out to your friend through other means, not related to Facebook, to inform them of the potential hack. Affected individuals should change their Facebook passwords immediately and review their account security settings.

This scam highlights the need for heightened vigilance in the digital age, especially on social media platforms where personal connections are used as a veil for fraudulent activities. Users are advised to be skeptical of any unexpected financial opportunities presented via social media, irrespective of the source. Regularly updating passwords, using two-factor authentication, and educating oneself on the nature of online scams are critical steps in safeguarding against such deceitful tactics.

In conclusion, this Facebook Messenger scam serves as a reminder of the evolving nature of online fraud, and highlights the importance of staying informed and cautious.