CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is urging West Virginians to be cautious if they receive a Facebook message from someone claiming to have a United Nations and Government grant available.
In this scam, a Facebook user will receive a message from someone that they believe is a Facebook friend. However, it is a scammer on the other end. The messages start by explaining the content of the grants and who they can be awarded to. The scammer sends messages describing that they have a government grant available for “retired, working, widowed, and disabled people.”
“This type of scam is very deceiving for West Virginians who think they are trading messages online with a Facebook friend,” Morrisey said in a press release. “Unfortunately, scammers will stop at nothing to bilk money and steal other peoples’ identities."
The Attorney General’s office was recently made aware of this scam after a Mingo County resident was scammed by someone posing on Facebook as former state Sen. Truman Chafin. The consumer believed they had been contacted by Chafin about a United Nations and Government Grant available for people in the area.
After exchanging messages, the consumer proceeded to send a $250 Walmart pre-paid debit card to the scammer. The consumer was once again contacted to send $2,500 to a new address so that they could fully receive their grant.
The AG's office says it encourages consumers to always do their homework before sending money for an unsolicited offer. Pre-paid credit cards and green dot cards are often asked for by scammers due to the inability to trace the money once received.
“Scammers will often use high-pressure sales tactics and the promise of lump sums of cash to entice a consumer to send money,” Morrisey said. “Our office appreciates former Senator Chafin for reporting this scam to us, and we encourage others to report scams to our office’s Consumer Protection Division as well.”
The AG's office says that if someone claiming to have a government grant and requests payments contacts you, make sure you get as much information as possible and do not give out any personal, identifiable information.
Those who believe they have received messages such as this, or believe they have been a victim or a different scam, are asked to call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or the Eastern Panhandle field office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239. To file a report online, go to www.wvago.gov.