Alert! The BBB of Acadiana warns residents to beware grant scams

January 23, 2012

In the wake of several calls over the last several weeks from residents across south central Louisiana, the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is alerting residents to beware internet and phone grant scams.


The most important fact to remember in determining whether a call or email concerning a grant is a scam is to remember that no one can be awarded a grant if they did not apply. The federal government and private foundations do not select grant winners by random. Actually, the grant process is generally long and very competitive and only those who apply are considered.


Listed below are sure signs a call or email concerning a grant is a scam:


  • A caller or email notifies someone that they were randomly selected via email, regular mail or phone.
  • Residents are told they received a “government grant” or “a grant from Washington D.C.” with no more specific details.
  • Residents have to pay an up-front fee to receive the grant money.
  •  People are told they won because they paid taxes, shopped at Wal-Mart or need money to repair their homes.


The truth is grants are not given for these reasons in this way and these are sure signs of a scam.


According to the BBB of Acadiana, grants are not given because residents are in need, but to help funders accomplish specific missions such as keeping youths out of gangs. Grants to individuals also need prior approval by the Internal Revenue Service. It is generally left to non-profit organizations to assist people in repairing homes, paying utilities, etc.


The Better Business Bureau offers the following advice:

  • Watch out for phrases like "free grant money." Grants do not have to be repaid; thus there is no need to use the word "free."
  • The federal government and private foundations do not usually give out grants for personal debt consolidation, or to pay for other personal needs. Grants are usually given only to serve a social good such as bringing jobs to an area, training under-employed youth, preserving a bit of history, etc.
  • Visit your public library. Ask a librarian to help you find reference books describing foundations and the criteria they use in awarding grants.
  • Be wary if you are asked to provide money up-front to an unknown company before the company will provide the services promised.
  • If you are having financial problems, there are local non-profit credit counseling services which may be able to assist you with your problem at no charge.

Always START WITH TRUST. The BBB is an unbiased, non-profit organization which sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior.


The BBB purpose is not to act as an advocate for businesses or consumers but to act as a mutually trusted intermediary to resolve disputes and provide information to assist consumers in making wise buying decisions. The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.


The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.