One day you get a random phone call and the voice on the other side says that he or she is a representative from the “United States Federal Grant Department.” And–good news!–you qualify for a free government grant.
All you have to do is give some personal information, including your checking account number and routing number, and they’ll deposit the grant funds directly into your account.
Not so fast! Be careful: Government grant scams are becoming increasingly common. No legitimate, credible federal representative is going to call, email, or mail you asking for your personal information in order to send you money.
Instead, these are scammers who will use your personal info to steal from you.
Read on to learn more about government grant scams, what to watch out for, and how to avoid becoming the victim of one yourself.
Some government grant scammers follow the script we outlined above. Others will email you and provide a URL or email address for you to send your personal information to. Other scams will arrive in your mailbox.
Some will ask only for information, while others will claim that you “owe” them a fee in order to receive your much larger free government grant.
Often, the scammers claim to be from the “U.S. Federal Grant Department,” the “United States Federal Grant Department,” or the “U.S. Federal Grant Administration.” This is inevitably a scam.
You can find legitimate information about real government grants at www.grant.gov. No one will email or call you out of the blue to provide you with a free government grant.
There are a few general rules you should follow if you don’t want to be scammed by someone who claims to be offering grants from the federal government.
First, if someone asks you for your bank information, hang up immediately or delete the email. Never provide any personal banking information to a stranger.
Next, you can prevent future scamming calls by placing yourself on the National Do Not Call Registry.
You can also file an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, if you have already been victimized by a government grant scammer.