OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – A message from a relative’s hacked Facebook page fooled Monique into paying $5,000 for free money supposedly from the government.
“With us being in a pandemic, and at points the government actually reaching out and helping, I thought this was legit because of that. It didn’t seem so farfetched,” said Monique.
To unlock more than $100,000 in grant money, she bought dozens of cash cards and sent photos with pin numbers to the scammer who downloaded her money.
“That was pulled out of my savings,” said Monique. “I still got bills. I don’t have any assistance. I have to work for my paycheck.”
But, another photo she sent could cost her down the road.
“They have a picture of my driver’s license,” said Monique.
She’s not the only victim who told me the scammers asked for identification before promising to send grant money.
I asked an expert with the Better Business Bureau if people can indeed continue to be victims if a scammer has their diver’s license.
“Right. They can pose as you. They can represent you in all sorts of ways, apply for loans perhaps with your information,” said Jim Hegarty of the Better Business Bureau. “[There are] All kinds of opportunities for these scammers to continue to victimize these individuals who have fallen into these traps.”
Worried about becoming a target of other crooks, this victim asked not to be identified. Facebook Messenger scammers already know too much about her.
“These people obviously are criminals,” said Monique. “So now they know what I look like, they know where I live. I feel exposed and a bit vulnerable.”
Red Flags to watch out for:
- A grant means to give, so don’t pay for one
- The scammers always want payment in cash cards that require you to send them pin numbers.
- Never text or email a photo of your driver’s license to a stranger.
- If a friend or relative contacts you by messenger with a money offer, call them. It’s probably a scammer who hijacked their Facebook page.
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