FTC: Scammers Impersonate the National Institutes of Health

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released an alert on an ongoing government imposter scam involving callers pretending to be from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to reports, callers are telling people they’ve been selected to receive a $14,000 grant from the NIH and, in order to receive the funds, the recipients must pay a fee using an iTunes or Green Dot card, or provide their bank account number. The NIH offers a guide to avoid government grant scams, and the FTC's alert clearly states that the federal government will never call you to award a grant, as grants are only awarded to researchers who have applied for them and for public purposes, not for personal use. Additionally, no legitimate government organization will call and demand personal or financial information over the phone, nor would they request payment via a wire transfer or prepaid debit or gift card. The NJCCIC recommends all of our members maintain awareness of the latest scams and treat all unsolicited phone calls that request information, payment, or action, such as downloading software on your computer, with suspicion. If you fall victim to any fraudulent scam and suffer a monetary loss, report it to your local law enforcement and to the FTC as soon as possible, to increase the likelihood of recovering your funds.