Scams Target Federal Workers Needing Financial Assistance

BBB Consumer Alerts
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The Better Business Bureau of North Alabama warns federal employees to be on the look-out for scammers offering “too good to be true” deals.

Scammers are reported to have been posing as lenders offering aid to federal employees who haven’t received a paycheck since the shut-down began and may be desperate for financial assistance.

These lenders will cold call you and claim you’ve been pre-approved for a loan and that you just must pay a processing fee. The scammer then makes off with the cash and leaves you high and dry without any assistance. This is a new twist on old phone scams that have been circulating for years. Consumers should never share personal information over the phone or engage with businesses that seem to be offering “too good to be true” deals out of the blue. BBB reminds consumers that no reputable lender will enter an agreement without first doing a credit check. Always do your research before agreeing to doing business with someone.

Federal employees may also be the targets of common employment scams as many of them look for side work as the government shutdown continues. There are many types of employment scams but the most common is like the loan scam mentioned above. Scammers pose as a recruiter and contact the potential victim, asking you to apply for a position. The ad likely uses the name of a real business to add authenticity to their scam.

Oftentimes, the hiring process is very quick and sometimes an offer is extended without ever having a formal interview. After you’re “hired,” the scammer will often try and charge you for upfront “training.” They may even ask for your personal and banking information under the guise of setting up your direct deposit. Once they’ve stolen your money and information, the new “employer” disappears.

How To Avoid This Scam

  1. Never send money to someone you have never met face-to-face: Scammers use anonymity to their advantage when trying to take your money. Be on the lookout for anyone who seems unwilling to share their personal information or contact with you.
  2. Don’t be pressured to act immediately: Scammers prey on urgency and fear in order to catch you off guard. If someone is threatening you or emphasizing that an offer will only last for a short period of time, they might be using fear tactics to get you to lower your guard. Always take a step back and ask yourself if the deal you’re being offered seems fishy.
  3. Whenever possible, work with local businesses: Many scammers will use online forms of communication because it allows them to reach a large number of people and maintain their anonymity. You can avoid all of this by doing business with trusted, local businesses in your area that have a good reputation.
  4. Ask BBB: Unsure if the person you’re dealing with is a scammer? You can always call your local BBB and get the low-down on the latest scams targeting consumers. We’re always happy to lend a hand and help stop scams before they happen.


To report a scam, call your BBB at 256-533-1640 or go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, visit

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