Beware of this new twist on an old and classic scam! A Northern Alabama resident received a phone call claiming to be a representative from the United States government. The scammer was calling to offer the consumer his condolences for the loss of her father who had served in the military and had passed away. He then went on to say that the government was going to send her $5,500 upon receipt of $900 sent to him through a green dot card or money gram.
This is a classic government grant scam that has been around for years and has remained a threat because most people are not familiar with how grants are administered.
Red Flags to Look for in a Government Grant Scam:
- Don’t pay any money for a “free” government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a “free” government grant, it isn’t really free. A real government agency won’t ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant that you have already been awarded or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is Grants.gov.
- Look-alikes aren’t the real thing. Just because the caller says they’re from the “Federal Grants Administration” doesn’t mean that they are. There is no such government agency, and although it may look like they’re calling from Washington, D.C., they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
- Don’t give out your bank account information to anyone you don’t know. Always keep your bank account information confidential. Don’t share it unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is necessary.
- Take control of the calls you receive. If you want to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive, place your telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. To register online, visit donotcall.gov.
- File a complaint with the FTC. If you think you may have been a victim of a government grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC online, or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP.
Source: BBB of North Alabama & the Council of Better Business Bureaus