The American Benefits Program scam is all over social media, as scammers have been filling the internet with false promises about a $6,400 stimulus. This scam has appeared on Facebook, YouTube and other social media outlets. Don’t for it!
In this article, we’re going to delve deeper into what this scam involves, how to spot its falsehoods, and ways to safeguard against such deceptive tactics. We’ll also help you figure out what you can do to get real, tangible financial assistance you can trust.
About the Scam
The so-called “American Benefits Program” has been widely advertised on social media, enticing people with the prospect of easy money. They claim you can get a $6,400 subsidy or stimulus check if you follow certain steps. However, this is a scam and it is not legitimate.
What is Happening?
Scammers are exploiting social media platforms, spreading false promises of a $6,400 subsidy available through the American Benefits Program. They lure individuals with enticing posts, directing them to fraudulent websites.
The trick works because it plays on what we all want—some extra help, especially when money is tight. When we see others sharing these posts, it makes us think it must be true. Plus, the scammers rush you, saying you have to act fast to get the money. This makes people scared to miss out, so they might not stop to think if it’s real.
These fake posts are made to look very official, like something from the government. This can make it even harder to realize it’s a scam. You can see examples of the posts they used in the Internet Archive.
What is the American Benefits Program?
Despite its official-sounding name, the American Benefits Program is a fabrication. No such government program exists that offers such a large sum of money as a no-strings-attached subsidy.
How We Know It’s Fake
It’s important for you to understand how the Low Income Relief team identified that this is a scam. That’s because scammers are constantly evolving their strategies, repackaging old tricks in new, more convincing wraps.
By sharing our reasoning and the red flags we’ve identified, we aim to arm you with the knowledge needed to stay safe in the future. Even after the $6,400 American Benefits Program scam disappears, there will be other scams like it. By reviewing the red flags, you will be empowered to protect yourself and your loved ones from similar fraudulent activities in the future.
No Government Website
Red Flag: The websites associated with the scam do not belong to any government domain. Legitimate government websites have URLs ending in .gov. Scam sites often use URLs that mimic official sites but end in .com, .net, or other variations. This is a clear indicator that the site is not an official government platform.
Why it’s important: Scammers create fake websites to collect your personal information. By making their sites look official, they hope you won’t notice the difference. Checking the URL is a quick and easy way to spot a scam.
Real-life example: In the case of the $6,400 American Benefits Program scam, posts may direct you to websites that appear official but are actually hosted on non-government domains. You always need to look for a .gov URL to make sure you are on a government website. For example, Benefits.gov is owned by the government but Benefits.com is not.
Lack of Official Endorsements
Red Flag: Legitimate government programs are typically accompanied by official endorsements, such as press releases or announcements on government websites. A lack of such endorsements for a program is a red flag.
Why it’s important: Official endorsements and communications lend credibility to a program. Their absence suggests that the program may not be legitimate, as it has not been officially acknowledged by any government entity.
Real-life example: For genuine initiatives, the government uses official channels to inform the public, including press releases on official .gov websites. If you cannot find any government press release or official statement endorsing the $6,400 subsidy, this indicates it’s not a legitimate offer.
No Prior Announcements
Red Flag: Government benefits or programs are usually announced well in advance of their implementation. The American Benefits Program scam appeared suddenly without any prior announcement from a recognized government body, which was extremely suspicious.
Why it’s important: Prior announcements allow for public awareness and scrutiny, ensuring the program’s details are clear and transparent. The government is a slow-moving machine and there are a lot of steps that have to happen before a program is made available to the public. The media usually reports on these steps along the way, like we saw with the stimulus check programs during the pandemic. The absence of such announcements means there’s no official record or acknowledgment of the program.
Real-life example: When searching for information on the American Benefits Program, if no prior announcements from the IRS, the Department of Treasury, or other relevant government bodies can be found, this is a strong indication that the program is a scam.
Promise of Easy Money
Red Flag: Offers that promise large sums of money with little to no requirement, or that guarantee benefits without a clear explanation of how the program works, are classic signs of scams.
Why it’s important: If obtaining the money seems too easy or too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers use the lure of easy money to attract as many victims as possible.
Real-life example: The promise of a $6,400 subsidy just for answering a few questions or clicking a link is unrealistic. Genuine government benefits involve an application and verification process. No government program offers money as freely as the scam suggests.
Contrary to Standard Procedures
Red Flag: Each government program follows a set of standard procedures for application and qualification. Offers that deviate significantly from these known procedures, such as not requiring an official application or review process, are suspicious.
Why it’s important: Understanding standard procedures helps to identify when an offer doesn’t align with legitimate government practices, signaling a potential scam.
Real-life example: If the supposed $6,400 subsidy doesn’t require you to apply through an official government website or through a secure, verified process, this contradicts how real government assistance programs operate.
Requests for Personal Information
Red Flag: Scams often ask for personal or financial information early on, sometimes even before providing any real details about the supposed offer or benefit. They might ask for your Social Security number, bank account details, or other sensitive information.
Why it’s important: Legitimate government programs and agencies will not ask for sensitive information via social media or unsolicited emails. If you’re being asked for personal details without a clear, official reason or through secure, known channels, it’s a strong indication of a scam.
Real-life example: A common tactic seen in scams like the $6,400 American Benefits Program scam is a request for personal information under the guise of “verifying eligibility.” Real government assistance programs have secure, official application processes that ensure your information is protected.
Urgency & Coercion
Red Flag: Scammers often create a false sense of urgency, claiming that immediate action is required to secure benefits, or use coercive language to pressure individuals into acting quickly without verifying the information.
Why it’s important: This tactic is used to prevent potential victims from researching or questioning the legitimacy of the offer. Legitimate government programs do not pressure individuals to act immediately without providing ample time for consideration.
Real-life example: If you receive a message urging you to claim the $6,400 American Benefits Program scam subsidy “before it’s too late” or suggesting that opportunities are limited, it’s a tactic designed to rush you into a decision without proper verification.
Red Flag: Consistency in the details of a program is a hallmark of legitimacy. Offers that have fluctuating or inconsistent details about benefits, eligibility, or procedures are suspect.
Why it’s important: Inconsistent details can indicate that scammers are adjusting their story to lure different victims or to avoid detection. Legitimate programs have clearly defined and consistent details.
Real-life example: If descriptions of the American Benefits Program vary significantly between sources, such as differing amounts of money offered or changing eligibility requirements, this inconsistency suggests it’s a scam.
How to Protect Yourself
In the digital age, where scams like the fictitious American Benefits Program are rampant, protecting yourself is paramount. Here are three essential tips to safeguard against such deceitful practices.
Verify Information with Official Sources
Before you act on any offer, especially one that involves personal information or financial transactions, take the time to verify its legitimacy. Visit official government websites directly by typing their URLs into your browser—look for websites ending in .gov for U.S. government-related information. If a program is genuine, it will be listed on official sites, and you can find detailed information about how to apply or who to contact.
Moreover, if an offer claims to be supported by a government agency, reach out to that agency directly through contact information obtained from their official website. Legitimate agencies have official contact methods and will be able to confirm or deny the validity of any program. This step prevents you from falling into the traps set by scammers who rely on the impersonation of authority to lend credibility to their schemes.
Stay Informed about Scams
Knowledge is your best defense against scams. Familiarize yourself with the common tactics used by fraudsters, such as creating a sense of urgency, asking for personal information prematurely, and promising unrealistic rewards. Government agencies and consumer protection organizations often publish guides and tips on identifying and avoiding scams.
By understanding the signs of fraudulent activity, you can better assess the risks and legitimacy of any offer that comes your way. Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always approach such offers with skepticism and conduct your due diligence before proceeding.
Protect Your Personal Information
Leverage technological tools and services designed to protect your personal information and privacy. Install and regularly update reputable antivirus and anti-malware software on your devices to guard against malicious threats. Use web browser extensions that alert you to known phishing sites or insecure connections, helping you avoid dangerous websites.
Additionally, consider using a service that monitors your personal information for signs of unauthorized use. These services can alert you to potential identity theft, allowing you to take action before significant damage occurs. While no tool can offer complete protection, combining these technologies with cautious online behavior significantly enhances your defense against scams.
By verifying information with official sources, educating yourself on common scam tactics, and using technology to your advantage, you can create a strong shield against the deceitful practices of scammers. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and remember that safeguarding your personal and financial information starts with you.
Try These Government Programs Instead
While the American Benefits Program scam preys on those in need with false promises, there are legitimate government programs designed to provide financial assistance and support to individuals and families. These programs are established to help with various needs such as utility bills, food security, and health insurance.
Here’s an overview of three legitimate government programs you might consider if you’re in need of assistance. You can always find more by browsing our resource directories!
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps families with their energy bills, such as heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. It’s aimed at those who have low income and need support to keep their utilities running, ensuring that no one has to choose between paying an energy bill and other essentials like food or medicine.
Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and the energy requirements of the household. Each state has its own application process and guidelines, which you can find through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or your state’s LIHEAP office. Applying for LIHEAP can provide crucial support for managing your energy costs and maintaining a comfortable home environment.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, offers nutritional assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. SNAP is crucial for ensuring that everyone has access to enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle.
Eligibility for SNAP benefits is primarily based on income, assets, and certain expenses. The program is administered by the states, which means application processes and eligibility requirements can vary. To apply, contact your local SNAP office, usually found through your state’s Department of Social Services or equivalent. SNAP benefits can be used to buy groceries at authorized retailers, helping stretch your food budget further.
Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. It’s designed to assist those who may not have access to or afford private health insurance, ensuring access to essential healthcare services.
Eligibility for Medicaid is based on income and family size, among other factors, and can vary from state to state due to the flexibility allowed in the program. Applying for Medicaid can be done through your state’s Medicaid agency or through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Getting covered by Medicaid means you can receive necessary medical care without overwhelming financial strain.
Although the American Benefits Program scam isn’t real and you cannot get a $6,400 benefit from it, there are other legitimate government programs that may be able to help you. In this post, we explained the scam and shared tips on how you can spot scams like this. We also pointed out some real programs that can help, like LIHEAP and SNAP.