There's another online scam to beware of.  The Better Business Bureau has received numerous reports that people are stealing information from Facebook and Instagram accounts.  Then they go on promoting fake Covid-19 relief grants to their network and friends list.

The first thing to happen is that you receive a Facebook Messenger Chat or Instagram Direct Chat that appears to come from one of your "friends" telling you about a grant for Covid-19 relief.  I received one from a co-worker.

The big red flag is this...to get the grant, the scammer needs you need to pay first. The scammer will tell you that the money will be used to pay for “delivery” or “processing.” The scammer then collects the money, and you will NEVER see your grant.

Tips to spot this scam:

  • Be wary of your friends’ taste online: Your friend or family member may have impeccable judgment in real-life. But online, email messages, social posts, and direct messages could be from a hacked or impersonated account.
  • Don't pay any money for a "free" government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a "free" grant, it isn't really free. A real government agency won't ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant you have already been awarded. The only official list of all U.S. federal grant-making agencies is Grants.gov. For information regarding Canadian grants, contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
  • Check for look-alikes. Be sure to do your research and see if a government agency or organization actually exists. Find contact info on your own and call them to be sure the person you’ve heard from is legitimate.
  • Report scam accounts and messages to Facebook and Instagram: Alert administrators to fake profiles, compromised accounts, and spam messages by reporting them on Facebook and Instagram.

For more information about government scams, click the SCAM button below.

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