Beware of Affordable Care Act Grant Offers

  
     
August 29, 2013
SACRAMENTO, Ca., Aug. 28, 2013 – Local consumers are reporting scam phone calls that offer free government grant money, but request the caller pay supposed taxes on the money. Better Business Bureau Serving Northeast California urges consumers to hang up on anyone requesting you wire money or provide bank accounts to receive a grant.

The phone calls vary in nature. Some offer money associated with the Affordable Care Act, while others claim the grant money is in return for shopping at a major retailer. Regardless of the reason for the grant, most consumers state they never applied for any award and were asked to pay upfront taxes to receive the money. 

“Never pay money to receive money,” said Gary Almond, president of BBB Serving Northeast California. “Grants are difficult to receive and are not just given away freely in exchange for cash.” 

BBB reminds consumers of the red flags of a grant scam:

You never applied for a grant. Government grants are hard to come by. Most require a rigorous application and screening process. It’s highly unlikely anyone would receive a grant without making some effort to qualify.

You need to pay taxes on the grant before receiving it. Never wire money or give bank account information to anyone when receiving a grant, lottery winning or any other prize. 

An official name does not mean it is official. Just because the caller claims he is calling from the Federal Grants Department does not mean it is real. Before believing what the caller is saying, search for the name of the agency on the Internet. 

It’s too good to be true. If you ever question the validity of a phone call, email or letter, check with your Better Business Bureau before taking action. Visit necal.bbb.org or call 916-443-6843 for assistance.

If you’ve been a victim of a grant scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

For more tips you can trust, visit necal.bbb.org or follow BBB on Facebook

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As a business-supported nonprofit organization, Better Business Bureau's mission is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior, helps consumer identify reliable businesses through BBB Business Reviews, sets standards for truthful advertising, evaluates and provides reviews of charities, educates consumers, and offers dispute resolution services. In 2012, consumers relied on BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews, consumer tips and scam alerts. To learn more, please visit www.necal.bbb.org.