There’s a new scam in town being spread over social media, so watch your Facebook Messenger.

The Wyoming Department of Health issued a press release warning about scammers posing as representatives of the Community Services Block Grant program.

The department warned that the scammers use social media to tell people they are eligible for “large grants” through the program.

“They’re asking for things like name, address and phone number,” said Sarah Green, community services program manager at the Health Department. “Then they ask the individual they are scamming to purchase a money order and send it to the scammer.”

In truth, the block grant program doesn’t give money to individual residents. Instead the federal government gives money to the state of Wyoming, which passes it along to representatives in each of its 23 counties.

The county government handles the block grant in Teton County, with officials deciding which community service programs and agencies will receive money.

Most government programs won’t ask people to send a money order to receive more money. Green said scammers have asked for between $300 and $800 as a “processing fee” that will enable the individual to receive the block grant.

In other parts of the country, scammers have tried their tricks via phone calls as well, but in Wyoming they have so far used only social media.

Anyone who receives a suspicious message and thinks it’s a scam can report it to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ fraud hotline at 800-447-8477. Or visit OIG.HHS.gov/fraud/report-fraud to submit a complaint to the Office of the Inspector General.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

(1) comment

Terry Milan

Always surprises me that people would fall for these obvious scams. Particularly Facebook scams where they sell everything the know about you.




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