The number of consumers calling in to report to the BBB that they have been awarded “grants” is growing. The problem is, they never applied for a grant! They are being told that they were randomly selected by the Federal Government for a grant worth $7500 or other amount because of being a good citizen, which could mean that they pay their bills on time and have stayed out of jail.
Now, I don’t know about you, but the criterion for selection seems pretty lax. Also I’ve never heard of a grant offered by lottery. It sounds interesting, but what are the odds of the government drawing names of “good citizens” and handing out money? It’s unlikely. And, “good citizens” should pay their bills and stay out of jail anyway! The problem is that the caller sounds convincing. Individuals are provided with a password and told to call the Federal Grant institution out of Washington, DC. The number provided to call (202-436-9932), even has a Washington, DC area code. When prodded for an address, the address for Grants.gov is provided. Sounds quite legitimate, but it isn’t. In order to obtain this grant money, one is told that they must pay $289 via Western Union or Money Gram to pay for insurance on the grant. This is when the “red flag” should come up. Why would one have to insure their grant money or any money owed them, for that matter? Cons come up with strangest ways of swindling people. Unfortunately, it works or they wouldn’t come up with these off-the-wall schemes.
If you are interested in applying for a grant, go to www.grants.gov or call them at 800-518-4726. They are the one-stop shop for all federal grant opportunities. On this website you can learn about different types of grant opportunities, find out rules for applying, learn how to track your submissions, and get a contact number to report con artists, who pretend to be handing out grants on the government’s behalf.
If you have any questions at all about grant opportunities, you can call your BBB, and we can get you in the right direction and tell you whether an opportunity is legitimate or sounds phish-y. When in doubt check ‘em out! Go to bbb.org or give us a call.