KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Blount County woman was the target an online scam attempting to trick her into sending money to a scammer after receiving a message from some posing as one of her Facebook friends.

LaFetta Gillett received a message from a friend she has known for years about a grant program. However, she would find out the message did not come from her friend.

Impersonation scams are quite common. Being targeted through email or an odd online message is something most of us have experienced because if the message comes from a family member or friend you are more likely to respond.

Through Facebook, Gillett received a message from a grade school friend. However, it wasn’t her friend at all, but a scammer who had hacked her friend’s Facebook page, claiming she had some wonderful information on free money.

Gillett keeps up with her friends through her Facebook page. With so many acquaintances living in Knoxville, it’s her way of staying in touch. Her friend Sherry Foxx sent a message last month, about a government grant, but Gillett was unaware that Foxx’s Facebook page had been hacked.

“She said it’s a program I can get. I can send in a thousand dollars and get $50,000, free, money,” said Gillett.

Gillett was told the money was targeted to assist the elderly and disabled and it was coming through the Community Trust Foundation. One of the messages sent to Gillett reads, “They are giving out funds to those who are working retired, disabled unemployed to maintain standards of living.” When she asked more about the program, her ‘friend’ said the money came from the Community Trust Fund Program.

She was directed to some guy named Don Brian, a so-called agent for the trust.

“Could I send them half of the money, then, right then at the first of the month? This went on for a whole month and a half,” she said.

While the deal sounded okay, after all, it came from her friend who claimed she had received the money, Gillett was nonetheless skeptical.

“If you give me $50,000 and I’m on a based income, how am I going to pay you $1,000 when I get just a certain amount of money a month? So, they kept asking me about my income. How much was I receiving,” said Gillett.

Because $50,000 is such a windfall, the scammers didn’t want LaFetta to spill the beans.

“They told me not to tell anyone because I would have to pay if I do,” said Gillett.

The real Community Trust Foundation has been around since 2006, it’s a private philanthropic organization in which donors help meet community needs and turn their charitable dreams into reality. The CTF issued this warning: “If you asked to send a sum of money in exchange for a larger sum of money, it’s a scam. We are infuriated by the damage these individuals have caused both to us at Community Trust Foundation and to the numerous innocent victims they have scammed.”

“I got sense. I got brains not to do that. But it’s other people who have popped up on (Facebook) Messenger stating: Where is their money? They sent money and haven’t received anything,” said Gillett.

Gillett said they’re won’t receive any money from her and she hopes others don’t believe it either. She has since gotten in touch with her real friend, who didn’t know anything about the Community Trust Foundation and was unaware her Facebook account had been hacked. Unfortunately, this type of scam happens more frequently than most would think. Gillett said from now on, she’s going to double-check any Facebook messages that may seem unusual.