Beware of faux government phone call scams - Your West Valley News: Columns

Beware of faux government phone call scams

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Linda Vitale

Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 2:31 pm | Updated: 2:36 pm, Wed Sep 21, 2016.

If you’re contacted by someone claiming to be from a government agency, telling you that they’re going to send you government grant money, just hang up the phone.

You’re being scammed. The first question to ask yourself is: “How could I be eligible for grant money, if I didn’t apply for it”?

The scam begins with a phone call or email using a phony government name like “Federal Grant Education Department” or “US Grant Commission.”

You are informed that you are eligible for a substantial federal grant. In order to receive your money, all you have to do is pay an application fee or a transfer fee.

Keep in mind that when the phone call comes in, your caller ID is ‘spoofed’ (digitally manipulated) to display the name of this phony agency. Seeing is believing right? Wrong!

Modern technology has made it easy for these crooks to manipulate what you see on your caller ID. So, from this day forward, never rely on your caller ID. So many scams start out with this form of trickery.

If you give this total stranger your bank account information so they can “electronically deposit your check”, then you’ll pay the consequences. You will soon find your bank account emptied out.

If instead, you give out your payment information, you can bet that your credit or debit card info will be used for identity theft. Instead of easy money coming your way, you will be taken to the cleaners.

TIPS

• Don’t believe what you see on your caller ID.

• Never give out your personal or payment info to an unsolicited caller.

• The federal government does not call people offering federal grant money unless they have already filled out an application.

• The federal government never charges a fee to apply or receive grant money.

• Always type the web address of the government’s legitimate website directly into your browser, so you won’t be tricked into landing on a fake website. The legitimate website address is: http://www.StudentAid.ed.gov

Editor's Note: Linda Vitale is on a mission to empower & educate the public about Scams, Fraud & ID Theft. Get her new book “Scam Me Once, Can’t Get Scammed Again” on www.amazon.com

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