3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - Penny Langford is a scam victim. And, it all happened using Facebook.
“Yeah, I cried for two days. It looked so real. It looked so real,” Langford told 3 On Your Side. “I thought it was real.”
While on Facebook, Langford received a message from a scammer who had hacked into one of her friend’s Facebook accounts. That friend claimed to have received free federal grant money and provided a link so Langford could get some of that money too.
“I was so excited about it,” Langford said of the grant.
“It was almost like a miracle?” Gary Harper asked her.
“It really was,” she replied.
Curious, Langford clicked on the link and was taken to something sounding very official. It was called The Department of Human Services Financial Assistance Agency.
“I took it at face value. I got on the site, and I filled out the application,” said Langford.
Langford provided all kinds of personal information like her full name, address, phone number, and date of birth. And, just like that, she says was approved for the grant money.
“I was really pumped up,” Langford said when she found out she was approved.
All Langford needed to do now was choose how much money she wanted. She chose the box that said if she posted a $500 fee, she’d get $50,000. Langford planned on using the money to update her Mesa mobile home.
“Yeah, I figured I could do the flooring and get some new windows. You know, maybe make our lives a little bit better,” she said.
Langford was pretty excited. All she had to do was pay $500 to get $50,000. So, Langford did precisely what the scammer told her to do. She went to a Wells Fargo bank and deposited $500 right into the scammer’s bank account.
“Twenty-four to 30 hours later, he tells me that I will receive a check for $50,000,” Penny says the scammer told her. “That sounded wonderful.”
But the $50,000 grant money never arrived at Langford’s house.
“I called the family friend after making the deposit, and everything and she said that it wasn’t me,” said Langford.
In other words, she wasn’t the one who messaged Langford about that free grant money.
“I said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve made a mistake. I’ve been scammed,” Langford said.
3 On Your Side has provided Wells Fargo with all scammer’s account information, and the bank is investigating. 3 On Your Side is trying to shut the scammer’s account down.
In the meantime, Langford hopes others won’t fall for it.
“I have deleted Messenger and Facebook. I will no longer deal with any of that. There are too many hackers, and there are too many scams. I’m done with all that,” said Langford.