1. In early March 2018, an adult male residing in Milton Pennsylvania received a message through Facebook which was determined to be a Facebook scam.
2. The victim received a message through Facebook from a person pretending to be known to him. The message came from a friends Facebook account. Since the victim observed a Facebook photograph of his friend and her spouse on the Facebook page, he assumed his friend initiated the conversation.
3. The victim engaged in an online dialogue with the suspect, who later identifies himself as Rogers Billy Johnson. Johnson told the victim he was employed by a company known as, “The Special Humanitarian Department of CDBGP.” He claimed the victim was on the company “WINNERS LIST” which entitles him to receive grant money to buy a new home, make home repairs or purchase a new car.
4. Johnson asked the victim to complete an “online delivery form” which asked the victim to provide his home address, occupation, next of kin, monthly income, age and similar information. The victim provided electronic answers to all of the information requested.
5. A short time later, Johnson acknowledged receipt of the form and claimed he forwarded the document to the “delivery patrol team” who will deliver the cash benefit to the victim’s home. Johnson also warned the victim not to alert anyone else until his claim has been completely processed.
6. At this point in the online conversation, Johnson told the victim, that in order to claim his cash award, he is first required to pay a fee. A fee from the victim in the amount of$ 750.00 would result in a
$ 52,000.00 cash payment to him. Johnson then provided the victim with an itemized list showing him the more he pays up front, the more he will receive, up to a cash prize of one million dollars.
7. The victim told Johnson he didn’t have $750.00 and asked Johnson why the $750.00 fee can’t be deducted from the prize money. At this point, the conversation ends and the victim later suspected this was a scam.
8. The District Attorney’s office made contact with the victim’s friend (a Trevorton resident) and informed her that her Facebook account had been compromised. The District Attorney’s Office learned the woman was using a very weak password. She stated she would close her Facebook account immediately.
9. The District Attorney’s Office also notified the law enforcement section of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since the scam related directly to the distribution of federal grant money from the Community Development Block Grant Program. (CDBGP)
10. The District Attorney’s Office warns all members of the public that any request to pay upfront fees are the hallmark of most scams. The District Attorney also encourages the public to use strong passwords which involve a combination of upper and lower case letters, numerals and symbols. Using strong passwords is the best way to protect your online accounts.