INDIANAPOLIS-- Call 6 Investigates has uncovered a new twist on an old scam targeting people in central Indiana.
Chances are, you’re already used to scammers sending you snail mail, email or calling you on the phone.
In the new twist, the scammers are hacking into Facebook and sending you messages that appear to come from a friend of yours.
The offer seems legitimate because it’s coming from a Facebook friend.
Camby resident Rodney Clark considers himself savvy when it comes to scammers.
“I’m not a dummy,” Clark said. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
So when Rodney received a Facebook message from a friend of his, he didn’t think much of it.
Rodney’s friend told him about the New United Nations Funding program or NUF.
"She had received $90,000 through this program, and it's not a loan, it's just something you apply for and she gave me the phone number to call," said Rodney.
Rodney called the phone number, which had a 727 area code, and gave them his name and address.
“Probably a big mistake,” said Rodney.
Rodney stopped short of revealing his bank account information and called Call 6 Investigates.
“I wanted to find out from you if you thought it was actually a scam or not,” said Rodney.
Call 6 Investigates did some checking and found this is a new twist on a scam that’s been around for years.
Only this time, the scammers are hacking into your friend’s Facebook accounts and messaging you to get your attention about the United Nations fund.
We called the 727 number and left a message, and we received a text message back saying we’re approved for free cash.
In order to get our cash, the text told us we needed to provide personal information within five minutes.
Call 6 Investigates didn’t provide any personal information, but we did ask the scammer why we were entitled to money from the UN.
“You are eligible to get the money because you are one of the people the (sic) pay tax regularly,” read the text.
Call 6 Investigates contacted the United Nations, and a spokesperson told us it’s a scam and the United Nations does not solicit personal information or offer money.
The UN is working with the authorities to put a stop to these scams, and directed consumers to this fraud alert on their website.
Here’s what they want people to know:
- The United Nations does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, processing, training) or other fee, or request information on applicants’ bank accounts. To apply for a job go to careers.un.org and click on Vacancies.
- The United Nations does not charge a fee at any stage of its procurement process (supplier registration, bids submission) or other fee. Visit the Procurement Division to see the latest business opportunities with the United Nations.
- The United Nations does not request any information related to bank accounts or other private information.
- The United Nations does not offer prizes, awards, funds, certificates, automated teller machine (ATM) cards, compensation for Internet fraud, or scholarships, or conduct lotteries.
- The United Nations does not approve military vacations or pensions, or release packages in exchange for a fee.
As for Rodney Clark, he’s relieved he reached out to Call 6 Investigates.
"I'm glad to know that and I'm glad to know I didn't give them any bank numbers or anything like that," said Clark. “I appreciate you looking into it.”
The Better Business Bureau has more information on Grant Scams and tips for avoiding them here. In addition, here are some tips you should always keep in mind on Facebook:
- Be careful with friend requests from strangers. We all want to have new friends, but try to keep your social networking friends to folks you know outside of the social media platform. If it appears the request is from a business contact or friend of a friend, send them a message after accepting to test their legitimacy. If they don’t seem real or connected to your life, un-friend them.
- Don’t blindly trust your current Facebook friends. You may receive a message from someone you have known all your life. That doesn’t mean you must trust them inexplicitly. If the message seems out-of-character their account may have been hacked or cloned. Contact them offline and let them know.