Government Shutdown Results in Rise of Phone Scams

The shutdown of the United States federal government last week, may have lasted two days, but it only opened up the floodgates for scammers to try and scam consumers into believing they’ve been awarded a nice chunk of change from a United States government grant.

Informing consumers that they’ve been awarded the grant for a number of reasons such as good credit backgrounds, paying bills on time, and never filing for bankruptcy, has resulted in endless but unrealistic possibilities.

Once a scammer has reeled in a victim, they request they give them their personal or financial information (i.e. birth date, social security number, credit card number, bank account) either to confirm the victim’s identity or to let them know they’ll “deposit” the money into their account as soon as they received the information.

According to the BBB, during huge federal events, such as the government shutdown, they’ll see a spike in scams related to the event.

“A government grant is real hard to come by and the only thing you will get a government grant for is improving the community. No one is going to give you a grant for just being you,” says Jason Blankenship, director of Business Services for the BBB.

Here are a few tips in case you receive a call enticing you to redeem a so-called government grant:

Seeing is not always believing
Scammers are disguising their identity by “spoofing” their numbers and how they appear on your caller ID. This has been a trick that has helped them to convince their victims to provide personal information so it can be sold illegally or used for fraudulent activity.

•Keep your personal information private
Personal information is called personal because you should keep it to yourself. Never provide personal or financial information to unknown callers. Make sure that if you do, you are familiar with the company and understand why it is necessary that you share it with them.

•Federal government is busy 
Despite us believing our needs should be first on the list, federal government agencies have a lot on their plate. The federal government is not taking the time to search for eligible grantees; it is not a priority. Agencies will only contact you if you have applied for a grant.

If you’ve been a victim or have received a call from a government grant scammer, please report it to the FCC.

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