Louisiana man warns others of online scam

JACKSON, LA (WAFB) - A man in Jackson, Louisiana is warning people to be careful who they converse with on social media. Derek Carpenter said he got a friend request on Facebook from a woman he recognized, but it turned out that someone was baiting him for a scam.

"I saw this; Mary Ann Bryant's name came up, which looked familiar. She asked me for a friend request," Carpenter said.

Thursday, he said, while he was checking other messages, the woman claiming to be Mary Ann Bryant sent him a message to say hello. She then asked him if he'd heard of the Federal Government Grant program. She described it as a program for helping older and retired people do things like pay bills, buy a home or help their children.

"I sure could use some home improvement," Carpenter said. He said Bryant then told him to contact another woman, said to be Vicky Jean Drechsler, using her Facebook profile.

Carpenter said the alleged Drechsler asked him questions like: How many cars do you have? What type of house do you have? He said he was never asked for his social security number or his address. All business, he said, was done on the social media site. In ten minutes, he said he was approved for a grant of $100,000. The woman then gave him an address in Ohio, where he was to send $1,000 in order to collect his grant.

He said he never doubted anything, because the woman he knew - Bryant - told him about the program, but then came a major red flag.

"They knew where I lived before I gave the address," he said. "They told me go to the Dollar General store in Jackson, La."

Not only that, he says no one would talk to him via the phone.

Carpenter said he then decided to get in touch with the real Mary Ann Bryant; the woman contacted him on Facebook and told him about the program. He said she told him, "I don't have Facebook, I don't have a computer, and it's definitely not me."

He also made a complaint with the Attorney General's office. A spokesperson says they are seeing more scams, like this one, using social media to catch people.

"How many people's falling for this and how much money have they collected off of people?" Carpenter asked.

Carpenter has saved all the conversations he's had with whoever is using the online profiles. He says they are still asking him to send them money, so he can collect his $100,000 grant.

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