Consumers are reporting another government imposter scam – this time the scammers are pretending to be calling from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The scammers are telling people they’ve been selected to receive a $14,000 grant from NIH. To receive the grant, consumers must pay a fee through an iTunes or Green Dot card, or provide their bank account number.
If you receive a call resembling this one, requesting you to pay money to get money, hang up the phone immediately. The federal government will not call you to give you a grant or demanding your personal and financial information, such as your Social Security number or bank account. NIH does give grants to researchers; however, they must be applied for and are for public purposes, not for personal use.
How to Spot a Government Grant Scam:
- 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.
- Don’t pay any money for a “free” government grant. If you must pay money to claim a “free” government grant, it isn’t 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.
- 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.
To read more tips, visit Avoid Grant Scams and Scammers Impersonate the National Institute of Health