Government Grant Scam

May 14, 2014

Contact: Tiffany Whisner
Coles Marketing Communications

Get a "Government" Call That You Won a Grant? BBB Says Think Again

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 15, 2014/Coles Marketing Communications) - Think it's your lucky day when you get a "government" call saying you've been chosen for a grant? BBB serving Central Indiana warns consumers about a scam in which someone claiming to be "the government" calls and says you won a grant ... if you send them money.

Consumers are getting phone calls telling them they received a grant from “the government,” and they may spend the funds however they want. But in order to get the grant, the caller asks you to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak card and load it with money. They request the numbers off the back of the card, and then they take your money. Consumers don't get any grant money, and they lose their own money in the process.

It's very difficult to track Green Dot MoneyPak cards, so once the numbers off the back of the card are given, there goes your money. “If someone asks you to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card, beware they are most likely trying to scam you,” says Tim Maniscalo, president and CEO of BBB serving Central Indiana.

To help prevent these types of calls, BBB encourages consumers to sign up for the Indiana Attorney General’s Do Not Call List by calling 1-888-834-9969 or completing this form. Also, be cautious when using a Green Dot MoneyPak card. Once you give the number out, there is no way of tracking who has the money. BBB encourages not wiring money to individuals you don't know.

Here are some additional tips for dealing with this scam:

  • Government grants have to be applied for in order to receive. So if you didn't apply for the grant, you shouldn't get one.
  • The government doesn't call you to contact you for such matters. You won't receive information from the government through a phone call.
  • If you get one of these calls, just hang up. You may be tempted to call back, but this will only give the scammer another opportunity to steal your information.
  • Don’t give out your personal information to someone you don’t know. Never give out your bank account numbers, date of birth, credit card number or Social Security number to an unsolicited caller or anyone you don’t know.
  • According to, the FTC points out you shouldn't have to pay fees for a “free” government grant.

If you would like to apply for a grant, visit This website provides all of the federal grant opportunities including: different types of grants, rules for applying and how to track your submissions. You can report those who pretend to hand out grants on the government’s behalf to 1-800-447-8477.

If you are unsure if a business or a phone call is legitimate, please verify at or call 317-488-2222.


About Better Business Bureau
For more than 100 years, BBB has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB serving Central Indiana, founded in 1916 and serving 46 counties in central Indiana, is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America