The scammer will tell you that you will qualify to receive a “free grant” to pay for education costs, home repairs, home business expenses, or unpaid bills. It may be done through an ad or from a phone call supposedly from a "Federal Grants Administration" or other “government” agency with an official sounding name.
“Because you pay your income taxes on time, you have been awarded a free $12,500 government grant! To get your grant, simply give us your checking account information, and we will direct-deposit the grant into your bank account!”
What is Government Grant Scams
You'll received an email or a phone called from a “Federal Grants Administration” or other "government agency" telling you that you're one of the lucky Americans chosen to receive a free grant from US Government. Some scam artists advertise “free grants” in the classifieds, inviting readers to call a toll-free number for more information. To receive that grant you need to give your credit card or bank account information. In some cases, they said that you could use a Green Dot MoneyPak Card with some amount of money to activated that card.
How the scam work?
Grant scammers generally follow a script:
1. They congratulate you on your eligibility,
2. Then ask for your checking account information so they can “deposit your grant directly into your account,” or cover a one-time “processing fee.”
3. The caller may even reassure you that you can get a refund if you’re not satisfied.
How to Protect Yourself?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says following a few basic rules can keep consumers from losing money to these “government grant” scams:
1. Don’t give out your bank account information to anyone you don’t know. Scammers pressure people to divulge their bank account information so that they can steal the money in the account. Always keep your bank account information confidential. Don’t share it unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is necessary.
2. Don’t pay any money for a “free” government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a “free” government grant, it isn’t really free. A real government agency won’t ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant that you have already been awarded — or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions. The names of agencies and foundations that award grants are available for free at any public library or on the Internet. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is www.grants.gov.
3. Look-alikes aren’t the real thing. Just because the caller says he’s from the “Federal Grants Administration” doesn’t mean that he is. There is no such government agency. Take a moment to check the blue pages in your telephone directory to bear out your hunch — or not.
4. Phone numbers can deceive. Some con artists use Internet technology to disguise their area code in caller ID systems. Although it may look like they’re calling from Washington, DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
5. Take control of the calls you receive. If you want to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive, place your telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. To register online, visitdonotcall.gov. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone number you wish to register.
6. File a complaint with the FTC. If you think you may have been a victim of a government grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC online, or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.