RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The U.S. Department of Treasury is warning consumers not to trust a phone call claiming they've won a free grant. The fake calls have already hit the Richmond area. Charlene Crowder-Taylor says she got one of the phone calls and it just didn't feel right.
Her suspicions grew when the caller offered free money. "From the Treasury Department a grant of $8,000, and I was one of 1,500 selected because I didn't have a criminal record and I filed my taxes," she said.
That sealed the deal. She knew this was not legitimate and she was right. The U.S. Treasury Department would never make phone call like this. The agency is aware of the fraudulent calls and posted a warning on its website. Taylor says the crooks were after her personal information. She's concerned others may fall for the scheme. "Having an older parent, I think of all the older population in Richmond. What if they would have called? What if they would have given them money to get this grant?" Crowder-Taylor said.
The number one safety tip, never trust a phone call or your caller ID. Also, keep in mind, these crooks could have some information about you and will use it to reel you in, just hang up. The Treasury Department says there are variations of the scheme and you could also see bogus offers in your email. Also, keep in mind the crooks are persistent. "She was ruthless. She kept going on and on and on, one day I got five calls from the same person, Crowder-Taylor said.
If you think you've been a victim, file a complaint with the FTC.