Victim Falls For COVID Relief Scam

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.


  1. How much “COVID-19 relief money”relief money did she think she was getting?? That’s just greed if she had $1600 to buy stupid gift cards. She’s 48, she ought to know better. I want to feel sorry for her but I just can’t.

  2. This seems to happen too often in Johnston County. I’m curious to know more about the victims such as their IQ or mental capacity. I think we should all be proactive in making sure we warn our families and neighbors about this as much as we can.

  3. Anytime someone says “I need you to pay me in prepaid cards” that is a red flag. My sympathies go out to this lady and her family; but hopefully this will be lesson learned. To the scammers I say “May both sides of your pillow be always warm”.

  4. If you have that kind of money to give a perfect stranger, you dont need Relief money to start with. Greed, greed, greed! Sorry not sorry!

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