Scammers Masquerade as Government Agency
June 14, 2012

June 13, 2012 – Akron, OH – BBB serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties has recently received inquiries from consumers who are suspicious of calls they have received about qualifying for a government grant. This has become a popular means of defrauding people, as many are not familiar with government grants and are not sure if they might qualify for one. Although very few grants are available to individuals, (none of them are available for personal financial assistance) and legit grant opportunities can be found on www.grants.gov.

“Grants are not easy to come by and there is always an in-depth process that applicants must go through before they are awarded anything. So, if you didn’t apply for a grant and you receive one of these calls, someone is likely trying to scam you,” warns Christy Page, CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties.

Recent calls to the BBB were from consumers who said they were contacted by a so-called government agent named ‘Kevin,’ from the number (234) 678-7548. He informed consumers that they were recipients of government grants and they had to call Patrick Parker at (202) 657-4837 for more details about the grant. The number he is calling from is registered to an Akron residence, and is not related to a government office. Consumers are asked to pay anything from $99 to $315 via Western Union, in order to receive the grant.

Scammers like ‘Kevin’ are not affiliated with the government or any reputable organizations.

They target consumers in an unscrupulous manner in an effort to get money or financial information.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following advice:

  • Visit the BBB’s Scam Source on www.akron.bbb.org if you are doubtful about such an offer.
  • Do not give out any personal or bank information over the phone.
  • 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."
  • Organizations 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 an historical location, 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.
  • Visit www.grants.gov for information on government grants and qualifications. This site is the public’s primary resource in regards to government grants.

Visit www.akron.bbb.org or call (330) 253-4590 for additional information on consumer tips and alerts.