(13abc Action News) - Sarah, who 13abc will not share her last name for protection, is a mother and grandmother. She lost her husband and have been keeping in touch with friends on Facebook.
One friend of more than 30 years sent her an instant message and she replied. This was the same friend Sarah spoke with on IM back in December. So when she reached out recently she wanted to continue the conversation.
However, this time the friend sent her a message about a federal government grant. Sarah trusted this friend so she took down a number to get more information about this "so called" grant.
"She only paid the $750 and they brought $50,000 cash to her door," said Sarah.
The person even claimed her lawyer said the grant was legal and she should try it.
What Sarah didn't know, this wasn't her long-time friend, but actually a scammer who made a fake Facebook page exactly like the friend's page.
She called the number given and received texts back. Antony Jewell Ronda replied to the messages saying "are you ready to apply" for a federal government grant?
Sarah replied yes and sent her mother's name, address, gender and monthly income.
The scammer asked for her to Western Union money right away.
That's when she became skeptical and declined the offer to win $50,000.
"My brain said this is not right because it's too good to be true and yet the back of mind said Sharon said that all you have to do is apply, so if I applied and if I wasn't eligible then they would just reject it and end of story," Sarah said.
That was not the end of the messages. The person continued to harass Sarah every morning until one day he stopped.
The lesson of this story is to make sure you're messaging the right person. Also, never give personal information to someone you haven't seen or talked to.
The government will never reach out to you through text message.