Sooner or later, you may get a call from an “official” saying you’ve been chosen to receive a government grant for thousands of dollars—a grant that you never applied for. It would be great if money just fell out of the sky like that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
If you get a call like that, hang up. It’s a scam. The caller will try to get an upfront payment to cover “fees,” usually by some type of pre-paid debit card. Once the scammer gets everything he can out of you, he’ll disappear and so will your money.
The government grant scam is trending right now on the BBB Scam Tracker. Your BBB gets frequent calls from consumers who report getting called by grant scammers claiming to be with various government agerncies.
A man from Corpus Christi wrote in saying he had been scammed out of $825 by a grant scam from someone who pretended to be with the Social Security Administration. By the time he realized he’d been scammed, it was too late.
Don’t let that happen to you. Here are some tips to keep from getting taken by a grant scam:
- You have to apply for a government grant. If you didn’t apply for the grant, you didn’t receive one. If someone calls, saying you’ve received a grant you never applied for, hang up.
- The government doesn’t call you over matters like grants. You won’t receive information from the government through a phone call.
- If you get one of these calls, just hang up. You may be tempted to call back, but this will only give the scammer another chance to steal your information.
- Don’t give out personal information to someone you don’t know. Never give out your bank account numbers, date of birth, credit card number or Social Security number to an unsolicited caller or anyone you don’t know.
- According to grants.gov, the FTC points out you shouldn’t have to pay fees for a “free” government grant.
If you would like to apply for a grant, visit grants.gov. This website provides all of the federal grant opportunities including: different types of grants, rules for applying and how to track your submissions.