Furloughed Government Employees Targeted By Government Grant Scam

August 06, 2013

The Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia & the CSRA is warning government employees that they may be targeted by scammers due to their furlough status. The BBB is hearing from consumers who say that they are receiving calls informing them that because they are a furloughed employee they are entitled to tax free grants of up to $9000. Of course, the grants are nonexistent and the scammers are really after account numbers or advance fees.

One potential victim states, “Friday I received a phone call with a 202 area code, the woman stated that she was calling from Washington D.C. She said that I was entitled to a grant; tax free, of $9000. All I had to do was give my checking account number or a credit card number and she could have the money put in my account. The reason that I was on the list and eligible was the fact that "as a government employee on furlough" I qualified to get this money.”

“It is sad that scammers will target individuals who are already hurting financially but unfortunately their need creates the perfect opportunity for scammers to target them while their defenses are down,” said Kelvin Collins, President/CEO of the BBB of Central Georgia & the CSRA, Inc. “Over the years, we have seen countless consumers get taken after a job loss, bankruptcy or even the death of a loved one,” added Collins.

Consumers should remember that grants are not typically awarded to individuals and usually have very strenuous qualification requirements. Grants are not given because you are in need. Grants are given because you can help the funder accomplish a need, such as cleaning downtown graffiti or keeping kids out of gangs. Additionally, a grant issued by the government would come from a very specific part of the government, such as the US Department of Education or US Department of Justice, not just “the government”.

If you are contacted by someone offering a grant, here are some red flags to help spot a scam:

· You were randomly selected via e-mail, phone or mail

· It is a “government” grant, no specific information is provided

· There is an upfront fee required to claim the grant or they need your bank account information to deposit the money

· You never applied for the grant

· There are no stipulations on how you spend the money

Grants are out there but securing one is a complicated process. Don’t fall for the promise of easy money. Information regarding legitimate grants can be found at www.grants.gov or by calling 1-800-518-4726. To check out a company or charity, visit www.bbb.org or call 1-800-763-4222.

The BBB of Central Georgia & the CSRA, Inc. is a non-profit organization serving 36 counties in Georgia and 5 counties in South Carolina. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada.

Serving as the 'ethical gatepost' of our communities, BBB fosters and promotes ethical business practices and self-regulation standards that build consumer trust in the marketplace. BBB services include business reliability information, complaint resolution services and consumer and business educational information. More information is available at