Cleveland Woman Loses Hundreds of Dollars to Government Grant Scam

moneypak Cleveland Woman Loses Hundreds of Dollars to Government Grant ScamA Cleveland woman told BBB she lost several hundred dollars to a government grant scam this week.

The call came from (202) 241-4094. The caller claimed to be with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  She was told she was eligible for a $10,000 government grant given to “…families in need.”  All she needed to do was pay $730 using Green Dot MoneyPak cards to cover “…Western Union fees and processing fees.”

After getting the cards and providing the serial numbers, she was transferred to someone else who claimed to be with the IRS and asked for an additional $370 for “state taxes.”  When she refused to pay, she was told her $10,000 was “frozen”.

Other consumers have reported receiving similar calls. Earlier this month, another Cleveland woman told BBB she was chosen to get a $7,800 government grant for “..paying her bills on time, not having a criminal record, and no history of filing for bankrupcty.”  She was told to pay $200 using a Green Dot MoneyPak card to get her grant and to call (202) 657-5204 after she bought the card.  She was suspicious and did not pay the fee.

The government does not award grants in this manner.  Government grants have specific requirements. If  you are interested in applying for a grant, go to 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. – See more at: http://www.bbb.org/blog/2013/11/grant-received-from-the-government-no-strings-attached-could-it-be/#sthash.zcEKoyhs.dpuf

BBB advises consumers to avoid involvement in offers or purchases that require you to wire money in advance or provide payment using Green Dot MoneyPak or similar reloadable debit cards.  These forms of payment are virtually untraceable and a favorite choice of scammers.

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About Sue McConnell

Sue is the senior vice president of BBB Serving Greater Cleveland. She began her BBB career in 1980 and has served on various national BBB committees. Sue has conducted peer trainings locally, regionally, and nationally and represents BBB in local print and broadcast media.