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VERIFY: Text message claiming UNICEF is offering $1,000 grant for COVID-19 relief is fake

UNICEF said the text message appears to be a scam.

HOUSTON — There is a lot of financial help available for people struggling during the pandemic, but not all of the grant opportunities you see are real.

Someone reached out to the VERIFY team after getting a text about a grant claiming to be from UNICEF. They wanted to if the offer was real.

Text claims to be from UNICEF offering COVID grant

The text message reads, in part, “Hello, your mobile number has been randomly selected by UNICEF, for COVID-19 relief board to receive grant of $1,000 to assist people regarding the pandemic. Click this link to claim your $1,000 bonus now.”

Website made to look like UNICEF's

The link takes the recipient to a website that appears to be sponsored by UNICEF. It tells the claimant, once they apply, they will get a $3,500 check to deposit in their bank account. It instructs them to deduct $1,000 as grant fees and wait for further communication from UNICEF. It asks the claimant for personal information including their bank account information.

Is it a scam?

Terri asked the VERIFY team, “Is this a scam?”  

Our source for this is the United Nations Children’s Fund. The agency provides humanitarian and developmental aid to children across the globe. UNICEF responds to emergencies involving child welfare, food crises and children and families affected by natural disasters.

But what about COVID-19 pandemic relief by way of a grant?

UNICEF tells the VERIFY team, “It does appear that it is a scam.”

So, we can VERIFY this grant opportunity is not from UNICEF.

A UNICEF said the agency’s IT team is working to have the fake website taken down.

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