New scam alert in Nebraska: someone calls Nebraskans claiming that they won a prize and asking to make payment a transaction fee to receive the award

LINCOLN, Nebraska — The Department of Health and Human Services is issuing a warning to the people of Nebraska about a potential scam that involves a con artist calling a person and claiming that the person has won a Social Services Block Grant award but that they must pay a transaction fee in order to receive the award.

A con using monies from the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) has been brought to the attention of the Division of Children and Family Services (CFS) of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This con is being perpetrated against Nebraska residents.

Scammers will phone potential victims and tell them that they have won a Social Services Block Grant award but that they first need to pay a transaction charge before they can get their prize. In this public warning to states and territories, which was linked to, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) detailed the specifics of the fraud that was being perpetrated.

The perpetrators of this scheme, according to the ACF Office of Community Services, misrepresent themselves as federal agents and contact individuals claiming they won an SSBG award but must pay a transaction fee to claim the award. In order to claim the award, the individuals are asked to pay the fee.

In a few instances, the victims of fraudulent conduct have stated that they have made payments to their credit cards amounting to a total of one thousand dollars or more. The majority of those who are being negatively impacted have salaries that are either limited or fixed.

A population that is already struggling due to challenging circumstances would suffer further suffering as a result of the repayment of these loans.

Common characteristics of this scam include:

  • Notices of awards being won may come to the targeted individual via e-mail accounts that have,, or other commercial addresses.
  • The name on the e-mail account may entail an official-sounding title such as [email protected]
  • Notices may come via a social media message app such as Facebook Messenger — either via text or call.
  • A complimentary notice appears to come from a social media friend to confirm receipt of their winnings or in some cases, refer the targeted individual to another source to begin to claim their winnings.
  • Individuals are asked to purchase credit card gift cards to pay for the alleged SSBG winnings or grant transaction fees.

Nebraskans who have been targeted by this fraud or who know someone else who has been targeted by this scam are encouraged by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to call the Grants Fraud Hotline at the United States Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-447-8477.

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