“If it sounds too good to be true, it is.” This is a public notification regarding two recent scams.
A local woman was contacted by telephone and told by a male caller that they represented the United States Grant Department. The victim was told that she was being awarded several thousand dollars because her credit score was very high. The criminal told the victim that all she had to do was pay the taxes on the grant and she would get the full amount. He told her to put part of the tax money on a Google Play Card and to give the caller the numbers on the card. Then, a second suspect called the victim and told her to put the rest of the payment on two other Google Play Cards. Another phone call followed from the first suspect. He directed the victim to pay additional money to fix her credit.
As you can tell, this was a case of a victim not realizing that someone you do not know calling about a free grant, IS NOT FREE.
Another recent fraud was suffered by a local man who filled out an on-line loan application. This was a third party referral from a website and not the specific site of one company. A few days after he wrote in, the victim received a text message from a person who claimed to be with Lending Club, stating that he was approved for the loan.
A few weeks later, the victim received an email letter stating that he was approved. A fraudulent name and telephone number were provided. The suspect talked by telephone with the victim, convincing him to provide his personal bank information. The suspect said he put money into his account, but the victim needed to take it out and buy Walmart gift cards and send the caller pictures of the gift cards with the identification numbers clearly visible. The victim later discovered that the suspect had withdrawn additional payments from his bank account.
The lesson learned here is to use the specific site of a company that you select for personal business. Talk to someone locally who works with the company to confirm how to apply for a loan.
Please take extra care before reacting to an unsolicited phone call.
Citizens can call the Police Department if they think that they have been victimized. Also, if you need to report a scam, please go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website at: https://www.ftc.gov/.