New Scam for Small Business Owners: Social Media Notices of Government ‘Grants’

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If you’re a small business owner, you’re not getting a government business grant notice through Facebook.

And if you get a message from a friend on Facebook asking them to “confirm” a business grant, it’s not coming from that friend. These are just new ways that have recently popped up to scam you, the Federal Trade Commission says. Don’t even reply to them — there’s some risk in even doing that.

Here’s what the FTC has to say about it:

Scammers try to contact you in many ways. They call, email, put ads online, send messages on social media and more. If you own a small business, they’re trying to contact you too.  Lately we’ve been hearing about scams through Facebook messages directed to small business owners.

Scam Online Reviews and Recommendations video FTC 03-22-17People have reported receiving messages on Facebook telling them that they’re eligible for — or that they’ve won — a business grant. If you get a message like this, do not respond. This is a scam. The government won’t contact you on social media to offer you money.

Some people responded to the messages because they thought they were from a “friend.” Know this: scammers can spoof social media messages to make them look like they’re coming from a friend.

Some fake messages directed people to send a text to “confirm” their “business grant.” Don’t do it. The scammer is only trying to get your cell phone number to keep trying to get your money.

Before you respond to a message on social media about a small business grant, stop and consider:

  • The government won’t contact you through social media to offer you money.
  • Real government grants don’t require that you pay first. Stay away from any deal that makes you pay to get your “business grant.”
  • If someone tells you they need your passwords to give you a “business grant,” they’re just trying to hack into your accounts to steal your money or impersonate you and scam others.
  • If the only way to communicate with the person offering you a “business grant” is through social media or text, that is a red flag for a scam.

Find out more about government grant scams and imposter scams and report them to the FTC if you see one.

Editor’s note: This blog post on the FTC website is by Rosario Méndez, an FTC attorney in the agency’s division of ConsumerBusiness Education.