BYHALIA, MS (WMC) - Some guy called Letasha Anderson out of the blue to tell her she "won" a $2,000 government grant.
"They said that there would be a fee of $175 in order for me to get the money," Anderson said.
Right there should have been the clue. First rule of grant and prize scams: you don't pay up front for something you legitimately won. Anderson didn't know.
She also didn't know that you can't "win" a grant. No one will initiate an unsolicited call to you offering a free grant. You have to apply for a grant, and unless it's a pell grant or some sort of scholarship, you would have to apply as a representative of an organization.
Anderson didn't know.
So she gave the caller her credit card number. Whoever it was swiped it for $175 and most likely sold it as part of a credit card number fraud ring. When she realized something was fishy and tried to cancel the "grant order," the scam charged another $85 to her card as a "cancellation fee."
"You just don't have money to just give to people like that, and so I just don't understand how you can do that to someone," she said.
But here's where the story gets good. Anderson immediately reported the scam on the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker. Consumers can report scams on the tracker, then track the scam trends happening right in their own neighborhoods by clicking on the map.
"Any location on the map, anywhere," Mid-South Better Business Bureau Communications Director Nancy Crawford said. "Click on one of those hot spots to bring up the scams that have been reported in that area."
"It starts with local consumers letting us know what's happening in their neighborhoods and in their households," bureau president Randy Hutchinson said. "We'll be able to help the public know what kind of scams are happening in their area, and they'll also know that they're not alone. They're not the only ones who have gotten these phone calls."
Anderson disputed the scam charges on her credit card, got them erased and put the scammer on blast on the BBB Scam Tracker. "I'm glad that it was there, that I could use it," she said. "Maybe I could stop it from happening to someone else."