If you get a call from someone claiming to be a US agency representative informing you that the US government decided to give you some money and then saying that in order to receive it you should go to Western Union –hang up.
Apparently some people are being called by such scammers, using Washington DC cell phone numbers, and telling people to wire $200 or so for “identification purposes” in order to get some money from a US agency (such as a non-existent ” U.S. Federal Grant Department, Health care & Human Services”. What does exist is the US Department of Health and Human Services, which gives grants to organizations and doesn’t have anything to do with private citizens).
Please remember the following points:
1. US Government (or any other, for that matter) will not just randomly give out money. If you didn’t apply for a grant – why would you receive it?
2. US Government will probably send a letter first, and only then call you (if at all). If you haven’t received a letter – ask for it.
3. US Government doesn’t identify people by asking them to send $200 to someone. They’ll identify you based on your tax records, or will ask to come in person to a government office for identification.
4. Once you send the money through Western Union or bank wire transfer – don’t ever expect to get it back.
5. Every government agency has a 1-800 number for incoming calls. If someone calls you – ask for that number and call back to continue the conversation. If they cannot provide the number, or it doesn’t match the number on that agency’sweb site (make sure the web site address ends with “.gov” if its a government agency of the US or one of the States), then its a scam.
Bottom line – don’t just expect for free money to fall on you from the sky, and if it involves wiring money out to someone you don’t know – it’s a scam.
Beware, and be safe.
Your Little Advisor