Criminals masquerading as employees of the Federal Reserve are scamming consumers, often getting money and account information out of their victims. Here’s what you need to know.
Victims are contacted about a federal grant they have access to. The fraudsters will tell them that an application fee will start the process of releasing the grant funds. Victims are instructed to pay the fee via wire transfer, GreenDot Moneypack cards, or gift cards (usually Amazon or Apple), and typically over $200. They’re also told to give their account information so the funds can be direct deposited once the application is processed.
In some cases, the victims are contacted a few times with additional payments needed for processing.
By the time the victim realizes they’ve been scammed, they may have paid hundreds of dollars in “fees,” as well as made their personal account vulnerable.
Important To Note
The Federal Reserve doesn’t offer any grant program. If anything sounds too good to be true, it’s a good idea to Google it. That’s the easiest way to spot a scam.
Any place that requires payment via non-traceable methods is a red flag. Reputable places will be able to accept checks or credit cards.
You should never give sensitive information (like account number) to someone who calls asking for it, even if they say they’re YOUR financial institution. Many institutions have security questions or other protocol in place if they need to contact you regarding something.
If you’re unsure the person is truly representing a certain company, you can always hang up and call the company directly. Better to be safe than sorry!
What To Do if You’re Targeted
Report any suspicious activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Click here for more information.
If your account information is compromised, be sure to alert your financial institution immediately!