Stay Protected Against Scammers

A Facebook Messenger scam has been circling and putting people on alert. Dorothy Ricketts, Vice President at Security Savings Bank, reports this Community Development Grant scam is being sent from what looks to be a Facebook friend:

“I actually received one of the messages myself, received a message that looked like it was from a friend, and had the friends picture and everything along with it. They asked me if I was familiar with the Community Development Grant. They basically wanted me to contact a person and a name at this specific phone number. This scam they ask you to send money in advance to receiving a grant that is supposed to be several hundred thousand dollars and may have other nice things with it, and you can keep as much of the grant money as you want and then you are supposed to share some of it with your community. It can also be called the Hope Grant. That one I have heard includes not only several hundred thousand dollars, but a new car along with it,” Ricketts states.

Ricketts wants to remind listeners that grants require paperwork and application, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is and most likely a scam. Feel free to contact your local banker with any questions.

Election scams on social media and websites will be surfacing to get donations for candidates as the 2020 election is under a year away. Ricketts advises what to watch out for:

“The other thing you look at on those is the type of donation they want you to send. Many of these scams want cash. Many of them want gift cards; I don’t know why we would think an ITunes gift card would make a payment for someone, or any other type of gift card for that matter. The reason those are requested is because they are untraceable and once that number is provided to them, that money is gone off of those gift cards,” Ricketts shares.

If you want to donate to a political candidate, search out their website or call one of their offices. Do not click on a link on a website or in an email.

Tax time is right around the corner, which means the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be sending out bills and notices to taxpayers. Scammers are taking advantage of this time of year, making it difficult to tell the real thing from the fakes.

The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment over the phone, but the scammers are trying to trick taxpayers by sending letters through the mail. Rickets reminds not to hesitate in asking for guidance:

“If you get a letter like that, I always say take it to your local banker. We can get on speaker phone and call the local IRS office, which happens to be in Peoria, to determine whether or not it is a valid letter. Ask for help. Do not feel like you have to take care of this on your own because there is strength in numbers. Bankers, we get the training on it, we can follow up, we have access to some contact information where we can do some follow up to determine if it is valid,” Ricketts states.

Always use caution before replying to any correspondence from the IRS to protect against scammers. Contact your local banker with any questions.