SCAM ALERT: Adams County Sheriff warns of fake financial assistance program

Published 12:18 pm Monday, August 29, 2022

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Sheriff’s Office has received many complaints about a new scam making its way around through Facebook where a person claiming to be a federal agent gathers the victims’ private information.

The scammer claims to be working for a new government assistance program called “Benefits and Financial Assistance,” ACSO states in a news release.

The “agent” claims this is a government and private grant foundation that gives away billions in free money every year to help those on SSI, retirement and those that do not make a lot.

Email newsletter signup

Victims are asked to provide this “agent” with all of their personal information, including their social security number, address, bank information, phone number, retired status and other personal information.

In return, the “agent” sends a photo of a card with the title “Benefits & Financial Assistance Government” and a fake driver’s license to give the impression this is a legitimate request.

The scammer asks the victims to send payment through Bitcoin and cash.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office asks everyone to be very cautious when providing personal information to anyone.

If there is any doubt, contact law enforcement or the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.

How scammers might try to trick you

  • Scammers reach you in lots of ways. They put ads online for fake government grants. Or they might call using a fake number that shows up on your caller ID so it looks like they’re calling from a federal or state government agency. Some send texts, emails, or messages on social media saying you might qualify for free money from the government.
  • Scammers make big promises. They might say you can get free money or a grant to pay for education, home repairs, home business expenses, household bills, or other personal needs.
  • Scammers try to look official. Besides faking their phone number, scammers will pretend they’re with a real government agency like the Social Security Administration. Or, they’ll make up an official-sounding name of a government agency such as the “Federal Grants Administration,” which doesn’t exist.
  • Scammers ask you for information or money. Government grant scammers might start by asking for personal information, like your Social Security number, supposedly to see if you qualify for the grant. Then they may ask for your bank account information to deposit grant money into your account or to pay up-front fees. Or they may ask you to pay those fees with a gift card, cash reload card, wire transfer or cryptocurrency. This is always a scam.
  • Scammers try to be convincing. They might promise a refund if you aren’t satisfied. Once you give your bank account information or pay fees, your money will disappear and you’ll never see the grant they promise.