Scambuster: Winning Federal Grant For Doing Your Taxes

tax returns pic

Paying your taxes: it’s something that the average American does, but scammers have found a way to turn it into a profit.

“And in this case, they’re offering a $7,000 reward for paying your taxes early and in return, all they want you to do is go to a Western Union and you send a deposit to a fictitious company,” says Sgt. Joe Mahoney with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.

The caller says they’re an officer with the Government Grant Department, gives a badge number and an address—200 Independence Avenue Building HHH, Washington D.C., which just happens to be the real home of the Federal Government Grants Department. A local woman, who didn’t want to be interviewed, told us she got one of these calls.

She says the scammers gave her the address of this Wal Mart in Tillman’s Corner, told her to go inside the Wood Forest Bank, a bank that has a Western Union outpost. And their victims are told to wire $200 to them for so-called “processing fees” in order to receive their non-existent federal grant.

This woman knew it was a scam, and wanted to warn others who may be more likely to fall for it.

“People in hard financial times, they’re desperate, they’re grasping for straws,” says Mahoney.

“So you know it’s a scam and I’m surprised that people are still not catching on to that. Any time you gotta send money, people, it’s not real! If it’s free, it’s free,” says Carol.

“I actually work for a financial institution, so we get that all the time. Can’t really do too much about it, just tell them to be careful. You’re not going to win a lottery if you didn’t play a lottery,” says David Bailey.

A website called Scambook records consumer complaints. According to their website, 93 people have complained about this scam and the average consumer is scammed out of $800.

The real Federal Government Grants Department has been notified about the scam. It’s also a good idea to Google the scam or the offer the caller is making. Chances are, you’ll find others who have gotten the same call.AK JOE MAHONEY

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