A Johnston County woman lost money in a COVID relief scam. The victim said she received a message over Facebook from a friend. It turns out it was a fake profile account resembling her friend.
The victim was told she could receive “COVID-19 relief money” but had to send in an advance fee to qualify. The 48 year-old woman obtained $1,600 worth of American Express gift cards and sent photos of the cards and pin numbers to the scammer. Only later did she realize she had been defrauded.
According to the US Treasury Department, if you receive calls, emails or other communications claiming to be offered a COVID-19 related grant or stimulus payment in exchange for personal financial information, an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, do not respond. It is a scam.
If you receive a similar phone call or message, report the incident to US Treasury Inspector General.