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Social media scam targets CT residents seeking affordable housing

On Facebook (above), the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority is warning people of a scam appearing on social media.
On Facebook (above), the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority is warning people of a scam appearing on social media.

A Connecticut housing aid group is alerting residents of a scam targeting those in need of low-income housing.

The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) was first made aware last week of a fake Facebook page pretending to be the group. The Authority is a quasi-public agency that helps fund and connect residents with low and middle income housing programs.

The scam claimed an affordable housing waitlist was accepting applications for Section 8 vouchers and encouraged residents to fill out an online form or visit the Authority’s office, according to CHFA Director of Research, Marketing and Outreach Marcus Smith.

“We did get a lot of folks coming in, unfortunately, some from an hour away or more, looking for information, getting on the Section 8 waitlist,” Smith said.

CHFA contacted Facebook to have the page removed.

“It popped up to somebody on our marketing team who keeps an eye on our social media activity, noticed that a number of our older posts were being shared and reposted on Facebook by one account that seemed a little odd,” Smith said.

The ultimate goal of the scam isn’t known, but Smith said it was likely to gain resident trust and interest before requesting compromising personal information. The fake Facebook page and its corresponding website have since been taken down, Smith said.

CHFA doesn’t offer Section 8 vouchers or manage voucher waitlists, Smith said.

“One of the more frustrating parts of this whole scam is that the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority doesn't actually offer section eight vouchers,” Smith said. “We’re not part of that program. We have no affiliation with the program.”

While the Authority doesn’t provide or manage Section 8 vouchers, it does partner with many groups that do, including local housing authorities.

The Authority encourages residents who may have fallen victim to the scam to contact the Department of Consumer Protection or Attorney General’s Office.

Elizabeth Benton, with the state’s Attorney General’s Office said it hasn’t received any notices or complaints regarding the scam.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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