Don’t fall for ‘Personal Grant’ rip-offs
Someone call saying the federal government has free grant money for you? Please hang up because you are being scammed. Better Business Bureau Serving the big Country is reminding consumers to know the red flags of a scam when receiving offers of “free” or “personal” grants.
Although there may be private grant foundations whose requirements are based on an individual's personal preference, the vast majority of grant issuers such as foundations and the federal government require applicants for funds to meet very specific established guidelines and also spells out how the funds are to be used, usually for the betterment of the community.
Please remember that grants are not given because you are in need. Grants are generally given to fund a very specific mission like planting a community garden or keeping kids out of gangs.
If residents are in need of money to fix a house, pay utilities, buy groceries or meet other daily needs, they would apply to a non-profit organization that has received a grant to distribute to people in that specific situation.
Scammers often offer people “free grants” then try to collect a scam “fee” for any number of reasons, such as a processing fee. This is a rip-off! Watch out for phrases like "free grant money" or “you won a grant.” Grants do not cost the applicant if they are awarded, so there is no need to use the word "free."
If you are interested in applying for a grant, go to www.grants.gov
. They are the one-stop shop for all federal grant opportunities. On this website, consumers can learn about different types of grant opportunities, find out rules for applying, learn how to track submissions and get a contact number to report con artists pretending to be handing out grants on the government’s behalf.
Better Business Bureau offers the following advice:
· If you have any questions at all about grant opportunities or suspect a grant scam, check with BBB at bbb.org.
· Be wary if you are asked to provide money up-front to an unknown company before the company will provide the services promised.
· Watch out for phrases like "free grant money." Grants do not have to be repaid; there is no need to use the word "free."
· Organizations do not usually give out grants for personal debt consolidation, or to pay for other personal needs.
· Visit your public library. Ask a librarian to help you find reference books describing foundations and the criteria they use in awarding grants.
· If you are having financial problems, there are local non-profit credit counseling services who may be able to assist you with your problem at no charge.
“Look for the Seal” and Start with Trust®. BBB Serving the Big Country is a private non-profit organization that strives for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
Please contact Better Business Bureau at (325) 691-1533 or bbb.org 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America www.bbb.org/abilene
BBB Serving Abilene services the counties of Taylor, Brown, Surry, Fisher, Jones, Shackleford, Coleman, Stephens, Mitchell, Nolan, Callahan, Eastland, Runnels.
Contact President/CEO John Riggins (325) 691-1533