Scam phone calls, emails and texts seem to be an everyday occurrence. But being fooled by scammers once taught a Memphis woman to be extra cautious when another scammer contacted her a year later.

The woman told BBB that she fell for a government grant scam last year. “I lost around $1,000 but told no one,” she reported to BBB, “no one at all.” She didn’t want anyone to know that she had sent money to the crooks more than once last year.

The grant scam she originally fell for was perpetrated through Facebook. She was messaged through the social media platform about “free” government grant money and thought it was real. “I ended up getting a bunch of gift cards and sending them off. I realized after I kept sending more money that it was a scam,” she said.

It was a hard lesson and she lost hundred of dollars, but still, she didn’t tell anyone.

Fast forward one year. Recently the woman reported to BBB that she had just received a text message that came “out of the blue” by someone who claimed to be an attorney. The man told her that he knew she had been previously scammed and he could help her get her money back.

“It can’t be real because no one knew I lost money,” she reiterated to BBB. “I kept telling him I knew it was a scam and he kept saying it wasn’t.”

The attorney told her that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) had given her contact information to him and told him to call. He kept insisting he wasn’t trying to scam her and even sent “proof” of his identity – an obviously faked ID card purportedly from the International Development Association. The card bears the name and blurry likeness of Jeffrey A. Rosen, the 38th deputy attorney general of the United States.

“Scam artists buy and sell lists with the names of people who already have lost money to fraudulent schemes on the theory that people who have been deceived once have a high likelihood of being scammed again,” said Randy Hutchinson, BBB of the Mid-South president. “The crooks who just acquired your information may then call you promising to recover the money you already lost.”

They use a variety of lies to add credibility to their pitch: some claim to represent companies or government agencies; some say they’re holding money for you; and others offer to file necessary complaint paperwork with government agencies on your behalf or tell you they can get your name at the top of a list for victim reimbursement. However, all their promises are lies designed to make you send even more money to crooks.

BBB offers these tips to help you:

Don’t give your bank or credit card account information to anyone who calls offering to recover money, merchandise, or prizes you never received.

If someone claims to represent a government agency that will recover your lost money, merchandise, or prizes for a fee or a donation to a charity, report them immediately to the FTC. National, state, and local consumer protection agencies and nonprofit organizations do not charge for their services.

Check out the company at bbb.org.

Report scams and scam attempts at bbb.org/ScamScamTracker.

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