SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – A local woman is warning others about scammers trying to get personal information and money from Facebook users using a fake government program.
The woman, Tammy, said what really hooked her is the scammers impersonated one of her family member’s Facebook profiles when they reached out.
“People, especially the elderly — we’re the targets,” she said.
Tammy got a message from the profile, thinking it was her cousin. The person then asked her if she received anything from the Department of Health and Human Services.
They told her she could receive a grant from the government worth $200,000. But first, she was told to send a message on Facebook to a supposed government agent.
She was then asked for some of her personal information.
“My address, my phone number, my age, what type of work I do,” Tammy said.
The man then told her to get the money from the government, she had to send them $500 to pay for shipping costs.
Tammy said that’s when she knew it was a scam.
“I said nope — that’s crazy.”
Bailey Parker, Communications Director for the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, advises consumers to reach out to the agency directly, before handing anything over.
“If somebody is saying ‘hey you need to fill out this document with all your personal identifying information and you’ll get money and you have to pay money’ — no that’s always going to be a scam,” said Parker.
While Tammy didn’t lose any money from the scam, Parker said her information is just as valuable.
“We hear from consumers all the time say ‘I didn’t give away any money — just personal information,” she said. “Well, your information is money to these scammers.”
Tammy hopes sharing her story will prevent someone else from falling victim to the scam.
“I said I should’ve known, you know, I should’ve known.”
If you do end up giving any personal information to a scammer, Parker said to place a security freeze on your credit and submit a fraud alert.