The Federal Government Grant Scam Has Been Around For Years
Offers of free money from government grants are scams. Someone might offer you a grant to pay for education, home repairs, home business expenses, or unpaid bills. But they’re all scams. Here’s how to avoid a government grant scam, and how to report it.
Now, scammers are finding targets through social media.
How It Works:
- You see posts from people on Facebook claiming they have been awarded tens of thousands of dollars in a grant from the federal government, and that you could be eligible, too.
- You call the listed phone number, give some personal information, and are told you qualify—all you have to do is send a money order or provide your bank account information to cover processing fees.
- You never get the grant.
How Government Grant Scammers Try To Trick You
- Scammers reach you in lots of ways. You might see ads online for (fake) government grants. Scammers might call you, but use a fake caller ID so it looks like they’re calling from a federal or state government agency. Some send texts or emails, saying you may qualify for free money from the government.
- Scammers make big promises. They might say you can use this so-called free money or grant to pay for education, home repairs, home business expenses, household bills, or other personal needs.
- Scammers try to look official. Besides faking their phone number, they’ll pretend they’re with a real government agency like the Social Security Administration. Or, they’ll make up an official-sounding name of a government agency, like the Federal Grants Administration, which doesn’t exist.
- Scammers ask you for information or money. Government grant scammers might start by asking for personal information, like your Social Security number, to see if you “qualify” for the grant (you will). Then they’ll ask for your bank account information — maybe to deposit “grant money” into your account or to pay for up-front fees. But sometimes, scammers will ask you to pay those fees with a gift card, cash reload card, money transfer, or with cryptocurrency. And that’s always a scam.
- Scammers try to be convincing. They might even promise a refund if you aren’t satisfied. But that’s a lie. Once you give your bank account information, or
What To Know About Government Grants
- Government grant applications and information about them are free.
- The “Federal Grants Administration” – the agency the scammers say they work for – does not exist.
- If you didn’t apply for a federal government grant, there is no way you would receive one. If you’re offered a grant you know nothing about, it’s probably a scam.• If you didn’t apply for a federal government grant, there is no way you would receive one. If you’re offered a grant you know nothing about, it’s probably a scam.
The government won’t get in touch out of the blue about grants. It won’t call, text, reach out through social media, or email you. It won’t offer you free government grants of any kind, much less grants to pay for home repairs, medical costs, or other personal needs. Real government grants require an application, and they’re always for a very specific purpose. Learn more (for free) at grants.gov.
Never share your financial or personal information with anyone who contacts you. Government agencies will never call, text, message you on social media, or email to ask for your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number. In fact, no matter who they say they are, don’t give out that information. Once a scammer has your information, they can steal money from your account, or your identity.
Don’t pay for a list of government grants — and don’t pay any up-front fees. The only place you can find a list of all available federal grants is at grants.gov. And that list is free. No government agency will ever contact you to demand that you pay to get a grant. And no government agency will ever ask you to pay with a gift card, cash reload card, by money transfer, or with cryptocurrency. Not for a grant, and not ever.
If you paid a scammer, act quickly. If you think you’ve sent money to a government impersonator like one of these grant scammers, contact the company you used to send the money. Tell the gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency company that it was a fraudulent transaction. Then ask them to reverse it.
What You Should Do:
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams.
What To Do If You Paid A Scammer
Scammers often ask you to pay in ways that make it tough to get your money back. No matter how you paid a scammer, the sooner you act, the better. Learn more about how to get your money back.
Please share this alert with friends and family, and always report them!