OKLAHOMA CITY - A favorite tool is the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker.
It lets anyone search scams in their community.
Tuesday we pulled up complaints in our area.
The one that keeps popping up is a bogus offer of free cash.
“We've gotten a lot of phone calls actually about it, maybe 5, 6 phone calls a week,” said Kitt Letcher, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma.
Scammers on the offensive targeting you over the phone and online.
“We see there is a sense of urgency to it, so you have to act fast, we only have this offer for so long. You only have a very short window of time to get the money back to us in order to qualify for these grants,” Letcher said.
They’re pursuing people who could really use the cash, like small business owners and college students, like Teresa, who received a phone call from a scammer as she was waking up from a nap.
“Well, ‘I'm calling to congratulate you on winning a grant of $9,600,’” she said.
Here’s the thing you don't get your grant money, until you cover the fake insurance, taxes or a processing fee.
Almost all of the complaints coming into the In Your Corner hotline right now involve putting cash on a pre-paid debit card, like a Green Dot Card or i-Tunes gift card.
Letcher tells the In Your Corner team that's not a typical way for money to go back and forth.
“Anything where it's prepaid, it's non-traceable where you have no way of getting that money back then that would be a huge red flag,” she said.
Remember, a real university or government agency will never demand a processing fee or money up front and they'll never notify you about a grant over the phone!
“Ask the name of the company that is giving you the money,” Letcher said. “If they say, ‘We're a third party vendor acting on behalf of such and such government agency,’ you can ask for the name of that vendor, ask for information about them, so you can call them back and look them up on the internet before you give them any money.”
- The In Your Corner bottom line you must apply for a grant to qualify for one.
- Even then there is all this paperwork and you have to be eligible.
- Scam Tracker: Report and Spot a scam in your area.