BBB sees uptick in government grant scams using Facebook messenger

Scam Busters

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Melanie Thompson responded to someone on Facebook messenger who she thought was her aunt.

“It showed in messenger I had an unread message,” Thompson said.

She replied to the message thinking nothing of it.

“It was a picture of my aunt,” she said.

Her aunt lives in West Virginia and Facebook messenger is how they normally communicate. Everything seemed legit until the person mentioned winning a government grant.

“They had a $50,000 grant from American Hope Resources,” Thompson said.

She was given a phone number and the name of an attorney to contact for the grant.

“After a few comments back and forth, I knew definitely it was a scam,” she said. “That’s not my aunt.”

Thompson is no stranger to scams.

“I think I was just a little off my game for one thing,” she said. “We work with scams all the time.”

Thompson is the Senior Regional Vice President of the Better Business Bureau in Middle Tennessee.

The nonprofit has seen a 25% increase in government grant scams using Facebook in the past two months.

“People need to beware of that,” she said.

Thompson says the scammer was most likely trying to get personal information or collect a bogus application fee. She didn’t fall for it and says people need to do their homework before falling victim.

“Pay attention,” Thompson said. “Question things. Don’t automatically give information. Don’t send money to people you don’t know.”

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