If you get a Facebook message or Instagram direct message talking about a COVID-19 relief grant, it is a scam!

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Our friends at the Better Business Bureau are watching out for us yet again as they are warning about a new scam via Facebook Messenger and Instagram direct messages. The BBB states that people are getting messages from their "friends", telling them about a COVID-19 relief grant that they have applied and were approved for. Scammers are hacking or created fake accounts with information and photos of your real friends so they can steal your information.

The BBB gives these tips to help spot and stop this potential scam:

  • Be wary of your friends’ taste online: Your friend or family member may have impeccable judgment in real-life. But online, email messages, social posts, and direct messages could be from a hacked or impersonated account.
  • Don't pay any money for a "free" government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a "free" grant, it isn't really free. A real government agency won't ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant you have already been awarded. The only official list of all U.S. federal grant-making agencies is Grants.gov. For information regarding Canadian grants, contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
  • Check for look-a-likes. Be sure to do your research and see if a government agency or organization actually exists. Find contact info on your own and call them to be sure the person you’ve heard from is legitimate.
  • Report scam accounts and messages to Facebook and Instagram: Alert administrators to fake profiles, compromised accounts, and spam messages by reporting them on Facebook and Instagram.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to this or another scam, you can report it to the BBB by going to BBB.org/ScamTracker. To learn more about government scams, you can click here!

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