AG warns of email scam for grants and donations

February 23, 2012 in Business, News

From The Mississippi Link Newswire

JACKSON – Attorney General Jim Hood is warning consumers and businesses of a recent scam purporting to come from the Ford Foundation.

Mississippians may be receive an email soliciting confidential information under the guise of awarding money from the well-known organization. The email suggests that the recipient is a “final recipient” of a cash grant/donation for their personal business development or education.

In order to claim their grant/donation, however, the recipient is instructed to contact the Ford Foundation with their “full data and contacts” at an email address contained in the body of the email.

“This is clearly not an email from the Ford Foundation and anyone receiving this email should delete it,” said Attorney General Hood. “The Ford Foundation does not award random or unsolicited funds, nor do they ask for donations or membership dues.”

An investigator with the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office has confirmed this email is a scam.

“Scam artists will use the names of respected organizations such as the Ford Foundation to lure consumers into thinking they are dealing with a trusted entity,” said Hood. “Because of this, we continue to urge consumers to use caution before acting on unsolicited emails, voice mails, text messages or phone calls requesting personal information and/or money. Educating consumers is one of the most important actions we can take to combat scams.”

Hood said bogus phone calls and emails are constantly surfacing, and offers some basic tips to help Mississippians from becoming a victim.

– NEVER reply to an email, pop-up, telephone or text message that asks for personal or financial information. Legitimate companies WILL NOT ask for this information.

– ALWAYS contact the organization using a telephone number you know to be correct if you are concerned about your account. Do not call or text the number left in the message, and NEVER follow an internet link to a site.

– ALWAYS keep your anti-virus software up to date. In addition, use a firewall, which helps to make you invisible on the Internet and blocks communication from unauthorized sources.

– BE CAUTIOUS about opening attachments or downloading files from emails you receive, regardless of the sender.

Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of this scam or any other, should contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-281-4418.