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FBI Pittsburgh Shares Tips on Avoiding Romance Scams

If you are the victim of an online or internet-enabled crime, file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center as soon as possible.

Crime reports are used for investigative and intelligence purposes. Rapid reporting can also help support the recovery of lost funds.

Visit ic3.gov for more information, including tips and information about current crime trends.

Learn about other common scams and crimes. And discover more about the work of the FBI’s Cyber Division.

Are Government Agents Really Looking At Your Memes ‘glowposting’ And ‘government Agent Watching Me’ Explained

PublishedJul 01, 2022 at 05:10PM EDTbyAidan Walker.

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Somewhere in a nondescript office building belonging to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, an agent is seated at their computer browsing or another social media platform when their boss comes up and asks, “Do you have the report on the schizoposters yet?”

Pausing their intensive scrolling, the agent looks up and replies, “Not yet, Chief. But Id say Im pretty concerned about this guy trying to slide into Ashleys DMs. I dont think hes right for her, Ive been surveilling her for a while and think Id know.” The boss pats him on the back as the agent then nods and looks down at their hand on the mouse as it starts to subtly glow.

At least, that’s how the conspiracy theory behind memes like Glowposting and Government Agent Watching Me goes right?

Spending time online, you’ve almost surely come across a meme about “My FBI Agent” or how someone thinks the CIA is planting bait on 4chan or Reddit but are they being serious or simply being funny?

Let’s explain some of the theories and concepts behind this meme trend to try and work out an answer don’t forget to turn on Incognito mode .

Types Of Disability Policies

There are two types of disability policies.

  • Short-term policies may pay for up to two years. Most last for a few months to a year.

  • Long-term policies may pay benefits for a few years or until the disability ends.

Employers who offer coverage may provide short-term coverage, long-term coverage, or both.

If you plan to buy your own policy, shop around and ask:

  • How long do benefits last?

  • How much money will the policy pay?

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Limitations To Ocs Services

Before deciding to contact us, keep in mind some of our limitations. The OCS is not in a position to:

  • assist you with the reconsideration or appeals processes for decisions that relate to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan or the Old Age Security Program
  • speed up or influence in any way the application or payment process for a Service Canada program on your behalf
  • assist you with or make enquiries on your behalf regarding any other process for programs or services offered by other federal government departments, or provincial or municipal governments. The OCS is strictly focused on programs and services delivered by Service Canada.

You’ve Won Free Money Just Send Me $$$

NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after government official ...

No legitimate federal government employee would ever call you and tell you that you qualify or have been approved for a grant for which you never applied. Protect yourself from scammers that tell you that you need to pay a small processing fee to qualify to receive a grant for education costs, home repairs, home business expenses, or “money for nothing” grant offers.

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Search And Apply For Government Grants

To search or apply for grants, use the free, official website, Grants.gov. Commercial sites may charge a fee for grant information or application forms. Grants.gov centralizes information from more than 1,000 government grant programs. It’s designed to help states and organizations find and apply for grants.

Use The Reporting Calendar

How to fill in the reporting calendar

  • At the top of the calendar, enter the dates for the weeks youre reporting. Use Sunday as the first day and Saturday as the last day of the week. For example, Sunday, September 6 to Saturday, September 12
  • In the Hours column, enter the total number of full and partial hours worked each day. For example, 8.25 hours
  • In the Earnings column, enter the total earnings before deductions for each day of the week you worked. Include all earnings, such as tips, commissions or vacation pay
  • Add up the Hours column and enter the total in the Total to report for this week box. Report only full hours. Round down to the nearest hour do not round up. For example, if you worked 38.5 hours, you would enter 38 hours
  • Add up the Earnings column and enter the total in the Total to report for this week box. Round your total earnings to the nearest dollar. For example, if your earnings were $125.49, enter $125. If your earnings were $125.50, enter $126
  • When it comes time to complete your report, enter the total amounts from your calendar where required
  • Once you complete and submit your report, the due date of your next report will be displayed. Note this date at the bottom of your reporting calendar as a reminder
  • Hours and earnings for the week of: Insert work week 1


    • use another browser

    Internet Explorer compatibility view

    Make sure the Internet Reporting Service website hasnt been added to your browsers compatibility view list:

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    Protect Your Systems And Data

    • Keep systems and software up to date and install a strong, reputable anti-virus program.
    • Create a strong and unique passphrase for each online account you hold and change them regularly. Using the same passphrase across several accounts makes you more vulnerable if one account is breached.
    • Do not open any attachments unless you are expecting the file, document, or invoice and have verified the senders email address.

    Social Security Administration Impersonator Scam

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    The scam: You get a call, email, text message, or a direct message on social media saying its from the Social Security Administration and that your Social Security benefits will end or your Social Security number will be suspended unless you pay immediately. Theyll say that you have to pay with gift cards, a wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or by mailing cash. They may even threaten you, saying youll be arrested if you dont pay. But its not the Social Security Administration calling. Your benefits wont be suspended, and you dont owe anything. Its a scammer trying to get your money, or get your personal information to steal your identity.

    What to know:

    • The real Social Security Administration wont threaten you or suspend your Social Security number.
    • The real Social Security Administration wont call, email, send text messages, or send direct messages on social media asking for payment. And no one from any government agency will ever demand that you wire money, pay with gift cards, pay with cryptocurrency, or send cash. That call, email, text message, or direct message is a scam.

    What to do:

    Watch and share this video to help others avoid Social Security Administration impersonator scams.

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    Phony Solicitations For Grants

    The Minnesota Attorney Generals Office warns people to be alert for solicitations from scam artistsâsometimes posing as your own friendsâpromising access to grants or free money. These fraudsters claim that they can help you access such money, but instead, it is the fraudsters that are seeking access to your money or personal information. It can happen like this:

    Amyreceived a call fromMike,who claimed to work for the United States Treasury Department. Mike told Amy that she was selected to receive a $9,000 grant from the IRS because she had paid her taxes on time. Mike then asked Amy to send him $500 via a wire transfer to pay for a processing fee to receive the grant. Amy realized the call was a scam and hung up.

    Doug received a Facebook message from his friend Hank telling him that he was eligible for a grant from a local non-profit organization. Hank asked Doug to send his credit card information to him so that the money could be transferred to his account. After Doug sent the information, he noticed several unauthorized charges to his credit card. He then called Hank, who told him that his Facebook account had been hacked. Doug disputed the charges with his credit card company, which reversed the charges and changed his account number.

    Is The Fbi Really Looking At Memes Though

    Public disclosures indicate the Intelligence Community is looking at memes, but the data is extremely opaque.

    According to documents released by the Special Court that gives agencies warrants to gather intelligence on people, up to 3,394,053 queries for personal information related to U.S. citizens were made by the FBI in 2021, but despite how precise that number is, a very large number of those are the FBI looking up the same people over and over again.

    To make matters more unclear, public disclosures show that each agency counts its surveillance queries differently. The CIA, which does not count duplicates, queried almost 9,000 Americans in 2021. The volume of data and the evident lack of a consistent way of dealing with it or even being sure of its accuracy would seem to indicate there are few or no people in the government who actually understand what is going on.

    Anecdotally, several scandals related to insufficient oversight of intelligence-collecting and anti-extremism efforts have surfaced.

    A Rolling Stone story recently accused the FBI of inadvertently funding white supremacist recruitment online because of overzealous undercover work on online forums.

    Others, like journalist Trevor Aaronson, have criticized FBI tactics for purportedly encouraging mentally ill posters online to commit to doing terror attacks with informants and then bust them. Between 2012 and 2018, the FBI spent an average of $42 million a year on informants, some of whom are paid six figures.

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    Scam Alert From The Council On Financial Assistance Reform

    According to reports, the scam artist claims to represent the COFAR when contacting the individual. Victims are told they have been selected to receive a government grant ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. In order to receive the grant money, the representative explains a “processing fee” ranging between $150 and $700 must be paid and asks individuals for bank account information.The COFAR is not a grant making organization and has been disbanded. The COFAR will never request banking information, social security numbers or other personally identifiable information to facilitate the issuance of a “grant”. Grants are not benefits or entitlements. A federal grant is an award of financial assistance from a federal agency to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States.

    If you think you may have been a victim of a government grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC online, or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP TTY: 1-866-653-4261.

    The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Click here for more information:

    How To Report Fraud Online

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    Please Note: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and recommendations to practice social distancing, FraudNet staff are working remotely. As a result, we discourage submission of concerns via regular mail as this may cause a delay in our response. We strongly encourage you to submit your concern online so we may provide a more timely response and continue to serve the public.

    Standard – You do not place any restrictions on the release of your contact information. If necessary, we may contact you for more information about your submission.Submitting allegations online through our website form is the preferred method. You have 3 filing preferences to choose from when submitting an allegation through our website:

    Confidential – We will keep your name confidential and will not release your contact information. If necessary, we may contact you for more information about your submission.

    Anonymous – You can remain anonymous and not provide your contact information. When selecting this option, there will be no way to contact you for more information about your submission.

    We cannot accept classified information or files larger than 500mb when reporting allegations through our websiteplease call our hotline if you need to do so.

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    This Type Of Federal Grant Does Not Require An Application

    Every grant from the federal government involves an application submitted through a government website, such as Grants.gov. Also, you cannot apply for federal grants over the phone or via email. Any individual claiming that a grant does not require an application, or requires only a phone call or an email, is attempting to scam you.

    There Are No Charges For Real Government Grants

    The government will never charge you a fee to process a grant, or any other application. Your tax dollars pay for government agencies to exist. An agency would also never require you to provide vital financial information over the phone.

    Someone claiming they are going to give you money but first they need to charge you a one-time processing fee should raise a lot of red flags. Think before you act.

    Some grant scams involve criminals placing ads in newspapers and on websites offering loans for small business. If you respond to one of these bogus government loan offers you will quickly be approved. What comes next should raise more than a few eyebrows. In order to collect your loan you are required to wire funds via Western Union to pay for insurance on the loan.

    Thousands of dollars may be asked for but the loan could be for much more making it seem reasonable. The trick here is that its never reasonable for someone to ask for money to insure a loan. If you wire money to someone for loan insurance you can kiss it all goodbye.

    You wont see a dollar of your loan or your loan insurance money again.

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    Questions To Ask About A Legit Grant You Won A Legit Grant Now What

    When you are the fortunate recipient of a legitimate U.S. grant, make sure you understand its purpose and requirements upfront.

    • What can the money be used for? Most grants are not general-purpose funds, to be used for whatever the company determines. They are for specific purposes that meet the mission of the grantor. Make sure the grantors mission and you mission are in sync.
    • What portion of the grant can be used for overhead? Grants are provided to undertake projects and activities. It takes administrative support to accomplish this, so make sure you understand what amount of the grant can be used for that.
    • What is the timing of the payments? Many grants are provided upfront so the company has the funds in hand to pay for the work. However, some grants are paid when agreed-upon milestones are accomplished or when specific expenditures need to be reimbursed.

    What Are Some Memes About Government Agents

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    The most mainstreamed meme about government agents is probably the Government Agent Watching Me format, which was frequently posted on Instagram and Twitter in 2017 and 2018.

    For historical context, in March 2017 WikiLeaks posted a series of internal CIA documents called Vault 7 detailing the intelligence agencys ability to hack internet browsers and personal devices. The disclosure followed years of disclosures about the governments capacity to spy on citizens, most prominently the leaks of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

    From the winter of 2017 to 2018, government agent memes were covered by mainstream publications like BuzzFeed, Mashable and many more. The memes usually feature a friendly and supportive relationship between the government agent and the user.

    Sometimes, the memes even involve apologizing to the federal agent for bizarre behaviors that the surveillance might pick up.

    You might interpret the memes as a way of laughing in the face of authority, humanizing government surveillance so its less scary. They might also be read as a way of mocking those who are really paranoid about government surveillance.

    In another sense, it seems as if the memers are interested in government agents being an audience for their personal lives.

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    Collecting On A Fake Debt

    Another government imposter scam involves a communication threatening to collect a debt. You may get a call or an official-looking letter claiming to be from a debt collector acting on behalf of a law firm or government agency. The scammer will threaten to arrest you or take you to court on the debt and may even have your address and Social Security number.

    Always ask for written verification of the debt. Never pay a debt by wiring money or using a pre-paid debit card. Even if you owe a debt, you still have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. For more information on debt collection, debt collection scams, and your rights, read the Attorney Generals Consumer Alert on Debt Collection & Debt Collection Scams.

    For People Who Must Leave Work To Care For A Family Member

    As of Sept. 27, 2020, Canadians who must leave work to take care of a family member can apply for EI Caregiving benefits and leave. Unlike with regular EI benefits, you can qualify with as little as 120 insured hours of work . The benefit provides a minimum of $500 per week, which may later be subject to tax. And if you received CERB previously, you will have more than the standard 52 weeks in order to work the minimum insured work hours to qualify for this benefit.

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