FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A crook or crooks on social media used a North Texas public official’s image to make their phony offers appear legitimate.

The City of Farmers Branch said it happened to Mayor Robert Dye this week.

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Someone impersonated him in a fake Instagram account, then used that account to solicit payments from unsuspecting victims who expected to access a federal grant.

Instagram scam (credit: City of Farmers Branch)

Police Chief David Hale says these fraudulent offers have become more common during the COVID-19 pandemic.

People are more often desperate for federal grants, spending more time online and more likely to make a quick decision, trying to meet a fake deadline.

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COVID-19 vaccine scams, federal grant scams and banking scams are just the tip of the iceberg.

Learn more about scams during the pandemic here.

The FBI has a large database of common scams here.

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