ORLANDO, Fla. – When Orlando retireee David Patterson received a Facebook message from his aunt last week, he was convinced that he was on a list to receive $200,000 from a special government grant.
Patterson said the message referred to a special list.
”[It said] they’re giving out grants to the disabled who are having a hard time monetarily,” he said.
Both Patterson and his aunt are disabled, so the message was not only welcome it seemed legitimate.
Patterson said the message from the person whom he thought was his aunt, provided a phone number so that he could text with the “agent” and receive the money.
WKMG-TV News 6 traced the 876 area code used in the text messages to Jamaica, not a U.S. government agency.
The fraud became clear when Patterson was told that he would have to wire $500 via Western Union to cover delivery and taxes.
“When I saw that, I said 'That doesn’t make sense'…It was a setup,” Patterson said.
It turns out that his aunt’s Facebook account had been hacked and the messenger was an impostor.
Patterson called his aunt to confirm that she has never received or messaged anything about the money.
“She said that a couple of her friends and relatives had contacted her about getting a friend request,” Patterson told News 6.
Patterson said his aunt posted an alert on her profile page that she had been hacked and she hadn’t been on Facebook in weeks.
Such “good news” scams will always play out in a message from someone you know, authorities said.
Some victims reported getting a friend request from with whom they were already friends.
For more information on such Facebook schemes, visit: