Better Business Bureau: Fraudsters may try to scam furloughed workers

If you’re a furloughed government employee, the only check you’ll be getting from the government is when you go back to work. Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely a scammer, according to the local Better Business Bureau office.

 

Officials with the business ethics organization are warning furloughed workers of a scam in which unsolicited callers tell the affected employee he or she is entitled to tax-free grants of up to $9,000.

The grants, of course, do not exist; the scammer is simply seeking bank and credit card account information, said Kelvin Collins, president of the BBB of the Fall Line Corridor, which includes the Augusta metro area.

“It is sad that scammers will target individuals who are already hurting financially,” he said. “But unfortunately, their need creates the perfect opportunity…while their defenses are down.”

Collins said he has heard of no reports of such fraudulent activity in the Augusta area, but he noted some federal employees at Robins Air Force Base fell victim during the 2013 government shutdown.

Collins said the calls may even have a 202 area code, which is the area code for Washington, D.C.

He said government grants, which often have meticulous certification requirements, are typically only awarded to those who apply for them.

Information regarding legitimate grants can be found at www.grants.gov or by calling (800) 518-4726. To check out a company or charity, visit www.bbb.org or call (800) 763-4222.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3352 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.

FRAUDULENT CALLS

The telltale signs of the furloughed worker scam:

• You didn’t apply for anything; you were randomly selected via email, phone or mail

• No specific information on the government “grant” is provided

• An upfront “fee” is requested to claim the money

• The caller asks for bank account information to deposit the money

Source: Better Business Bureau

 

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