Nationwide Government Grant Scam Reaches Columbia

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COLUMBIA - A government grant scam has sprouted up across the nation and has now reached Columbia. 

Columbia resident Ashlee Germany said she received a call and was surprised of how much they knew.

"He asked me to confirm my address," Germany said, "He had my address but he had the apartment off... He asked me if I lived alone, that's when I got more suspicious. "

The person on the other end of the line offered more than $10,000 but there was a catch. Germany was told she would have to pay a $180 fee through a wire transfer before she could get her money.

The Better Business Bureau has reports of this scam happening repeatedly since early April. It first got wind of the suspicious activity earlier in the month. 

Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau Regional Director Mike Harrison said, "At the beginning of April where folks were beginning to get similar phone calls and it sounds like it's starting to circulate here in Mid-Missouri and it's called the Government Grant Scam."

Germany said the caller gave her a routing number to take to Western Union to receive the money.

Mary Holley,a local Customer Service  Representative for Western Union said that once they ran the number it most likely would have came up as a scam.

" A flag would probably pop up on our screen that says please call a Western Union then we'd call and they'd probably tell us this isn't real, this isn't legit," said Holley.

"Today it's a government grant scam, three months from now it will be you won the lottery, three months after that it will be you won a sweep stakes. They are always the one calling you," said Harrison.

Germany was suspicious enough not to follow through and is not out any money. Harrison says the BBB is aware and is encouraging others to be cautious.