Coronavirus scam: Better Business Bureau warns against fake Facebook Messenger COVID-19 relief grant | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19

The nationwide need for rental assistance looms large right now, and while there are legitimate relief programs out there, now comes a warning about a fake COVID-19 grant circulating on Facebook.

The Facebook message “grant” that promises thousands of dollars and appears to come from a friend is being called a scam by the Better Business Bureau.

Here is how the scam works. You get a message on Facebook Messenger or Instagram direct message that looks like it comes from someone you know.

The message tells you about a grant for COVID-19 relief.

The sender may claim to have already applied and received thousands of dollars, but it is not true.

RELATED: Fake ‘mask exemption cards’ circulate on social media

Scammers are either hacking social media accounts or creating separate lookalike profiles of people you know to fool you.

These con artists are banking that you will trust a message that appears to come from someone you know.

“The catch is you have to pay a fee to get this grant, a processing [fee]”, said Leah Napoliello with the Houston Better Business Bureau. “And of course, there is no grant coming to you. It is just a ruse to get money out of you.”

Often times, these grant scams reference a real government agency, but when you go to the agency’s actual website, there is no information about the grant because it is not real.

“You should never have to pay money in order to get money, so if someone is telling you that you have to pay a processing fee in order to get this grant, that is a huge red flag right there,” Napoliello said. “It is really the scammer’s way of trying to get money from you.”

Follow Jeff Ehling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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