CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Facebook clone of Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty is asking people in the Virgin Islands to apply for National Endowment for the Humanities grants, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned.
The scammer uses the same profile picture that Nicholson-Doty uses on Facebook, so it is nearly impossible to tell them apart except for what they write to you.
In a case the V.I. Freep closely monitored today the Facebook clone of Nicholson-Doty began by asking how the scam victim and their family were doing.
After normal social pleasantries, the Facebook clone of Nicholson-Doty encourages the scam victim to apply for an “NEH grant” in New York City.
”It’s an initiated program which is specifically placed to assist a selected group of people in setting up a new business, to buy a house, schooling, government workers, retired workers, unemployed, young, old, widows and the disables [sic].”– Facebook Scammer
“What you need to do now is to send a text message directly to the agent through mail,” the Facebook clone of Nicholson-Doty wrote today. “He’s a court Attorney at the Civil Court of Manhattan New York. Tell him I referred you in regards to the grant program and that I wish you claim a slot of mine in the ongoing grant program [email protected]”
The incident has been reported to Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, the National Endowment for the Humanities and Nicholson-Doty. As far the V.I. Free Press knows, the local justice department, headed by Walker, is not investigating the incident despite the complaint being filed.
“Please don’t accept any messages in messenger pertaining to student grants under my profile,” the real Nicholson-Doty wrote today on Facebook. “It is a scam, and I have reported it to FB.”
Nicholson-Doty said she wrote to Facebook 10 days ago about the NEH grant scam, but they have failed to do anything about it up until today.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is a federal grantmaking agency and it said today it is “committed to suppressing an ongoing scam being perpetrated through Facebook, texting, and other mediums.”
They said the scam involves someone claiming to be an NEH employee contacting you through Facebook Messenger or text telling you that you are “on a list for a grant,” and instructing you to send payment before they will send you the grant funds. Please be advised that this is a scam.
NEH and its employees will never ask you to send money to receive a grant or other forms of financial assistance. Nor will NEH and its employees ever ask you to wire money or add money to a prepaid debit card to pay for associated processing or delivery fees.
NEH does not use Facebook or text to contact individuals concerning grant awards. If the name on the Facebook account is familiar to you (such as a friend or NEH employee), the scammer has created the account to impersonate someone you know in order to initiate and support this fraudulent scheme. Do not provide any personal information or send money to anyone claiming to be an NEH employee.
If someone purporting to be an NEH employee has contacted you through Facebook, please report the incident to Facebook so that it can remove the fraudulent account. In addition, you may report the incident to NEH’s Office of Inspector General at 1-877-786-7598 or via email at [email protected]. You may also report it to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at http://www.ic3.gov.
Please take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.