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Stimulus or scam? Is the government actually giving out money?

money stimulus government AP
Posted at 4:42 AM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 08:22:23-05

PHOENIX — More scammers are using COVID-19 to confuse us and make their free money scams look more real. Many times, they're using social media to do it.

Kaley says she got a Facebook message from an old co-worker.

The friend told her about a government COVID-19 pandemic program offering free grant money, saying she received $30,000.

Kaley says she could use the money and decided to reach out.

She says she was concerned when they asked her for her driver's license and bank account information.

"I went back to my friend and said, 'hey, did you furnish all of this personal info?' She said, 'yeah I have no problem with that,'" Kaley says she messaged back.

To get the $20,000 Kaley wanted, she had to pay $1,900 in fees, which is why they needed her bank account.

Looking back, she sees what you and I see now.

No strings-free money? Having to pay for it? A friend she hadn't talked to in years suddenly reaching out on Facebook?

This is a scam. Get out now!

But at the time, Kaley didn't see it. When she wouldn't give out her bank account information, Kaley was asked to buy gift cards and read the numbers on the back. She bought $1,900 worth.

Kaley was fully invested and showed a picture with her "winning documents," so she gave another $1,000 for federal delivery fees.

But when Kaley was told the IRS had seized the delivery truck, and they wanted another $5,000, she says, "I knew it was a scam right there, big time."

Later, she saw a new post from her co-worker/friend saying her account had been hacked.

Kaley threatened the scammers but couldn't get her money back.

So why didn't she just call her old friend? She says she didn't have her number. They hadn't talked in a long time.

It's one of the many warning signs, and Kaley says she hopes you learn from her story.

If you have doubts, talk to someone before sending and possibly losing any money.

Learn more about these scams.