Grant scam, consumers beware! (Consumer Newsletter article)
In 2014, many BBBs across the country have been receiving reports from consumers who stated they were contacted by The Washington D.C. Grant Department about being approved for a $7,000 grant. Contacts like this are not uncommon and such notices are usually accompanied by requests to pay processing fees. Your BBB of Southern Colorado wants to remind you that federal grants are not issued for personal use, but are intended for institutions and non-profits to carry out projects with a public purpose.
The ‘Grant Scam” is one that that regrettably never goes out of style and the people who carry it out are good at what they do; they know what to say and how to say it, which is why everyone needs to be careful.
Typically, these grant "notifications" come via phone, but people may also receive them through mail and email. These notices usually claim to be from the Federal Grants Administration or some other fake but official-sounding agency. Individuals who receive them are told they're either eligible for or have been awarded a government grant.
Once the grant has been introduced, the unlucky recipients are usually told they need to pay processing fees.
To avoid falling for the "Grant Scam," you should:
• Never pay for a "free" government grant. If you have to pay money to claim anything that's "free," it isn't free – or, very likely, legitimate.
• Keep in mind that no government grant-making agency will make phone calls, or send email or letters to solicit money or personal banking information from a potential grant recipient.
• Be aware there are no processing fees for federal grants.
• Watch out for communications from official-sounding government agencies – such as the Federal Grant Administration – which don't exist.
• Visit grants.gov to obtain information on federal grants and applications.