Scammers Are Targeting Artists by Pretending to Be NEA Officials on Facebook

Today, the agency has issued a warning about fake grants.

The NEA has issued an alert about potential fraud.

Scam artists, it seems, have taken to targeting real artists. According to an alert released today, there’s a con going around that has scammers posing as National Endowment for the Arts officials, luring their marks with promises of grant money, sometimes via Facebook. It appears to be a textbook wire-transfer scheme, based on getting people to pay fees with the promise of funds that never materialize.

Here’s the key part of the alert:

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts, a federal grantmaking agency, is the subject of a scam and is alerting the public not to respond to fraudulent notifications. Through this scam, perpetrators claiming to be NEA employees are contacting the public via Facebook, email, or phone to inform them that they have received an NEA grant and must provide seed money to an account to release the grant funds. Furthermore, the perpetrators state that the amount released by the targeted individual increases depending on the amount that the individual puts forward. They might frame the requested money as a processing or delivery fee.

Please do not respond to these messages. It is an attempt to defraud you. The NEA never notifies individuals or organizations that are recommended for a grant through Facebook and never requests money before releasing grant funds.

In fact, the NEA gives out only a few individual awards in prose and translation, after the ’90s Culture Wars took out a big chunk of its funding. These days, the agency’s grants go mainly to organizations rather than individuals.

These are, in other words, some pretty out-of-touch con artists.

A similar scam notice appeared on the website of the National Endowment for the Humanities earlier this year.

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