BATAVIA – A resident of 600 block of Thorsen Lane in Batavia reported July 1 that he was scammed out of $1,000, according to a Batavia police report released after a Freedom of Information Act request.
The resident told police that on June 28, he was contacted on Facebook Messenger from someone telling him he could apply for a Specialty Crop Block Grant and receive up to $90,000, the report stated.
To apply for the grant, the resident needed to provide multiple gift cards valued at $1,000, so he bought two $200 Steam gaming gift cards and two $300 Apple gift cards, the report stated.
He provided the gift card serial numbers to the person who contacted him over Facebook Messenger and was told the money would be mailed to him overnight and it should be at his door that week, the report stated.
The money never arrived and told the Facebook account holder contacted him to say the account was hacked, the report stated.
The particular grants the resident referred to are for specialty crop producers who get them through their state departments of agriculture for research, training, infrastructure and marketing support, according to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition website, sustainableagriculture.net.
Though the police report did not state it, in a warning to its members, AARP stated that scammers clone a person’s Facebook account and send messages that make it look like they are coming from a friend, according to aarp.org.
The Federal Trade Commission reports that government grant scams are offers of free money, but the recipients are to pay up-front fees, according to its website, consumer.ftc.gov.
The FTC advises that victims of scams can report it to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.