While a grant from the government can undoubtedly change your life in a positive way, being the victim of a grant scam can do the opposite.
There are plenty of con artists taking advantage of people seeking free money. Here are some examples of sneaky promises you may see that should tell you something is fishy:
Winning a Grant from a Raffle or Drawing
You cannot magically receive free money from the government via luck. There are no drawings or raffles for grants, so if someone contacts you saying you won one, it’s too good to be true.
People or entities must apply for grants via federal websites. If you don’t apply, you won’t be among the eligible applicants.
A common scam in this department will say that you’re part of a group of people who paid their taxes on time. As a result, the government wants to award you a grant. To claim it, just send your checking account information. Once you send it, they’ll attempt to steal the money in your account.
Getting Contacted About Random Grants in General
Unless you applied for a specific grant via an official government website, you would not be eligible to win it. If you receive any calls, messages, or other forms of contact out of the blue, know that it’s a setup.
What can a scammer get by simply contacting you with fake news about winning a grant? They could ask you for your bank account number, Social Security number, or other personal data to steal your identity or money.
Getting a Grant by Paying a Fee
Government grants are free money that you do not have to pay back. As such, any claim that you must pay a small fee to receive a grant is bogus.
Could you be asked for financial information to receive a grant? Yes, but never a payment. And if you must enter that information, it should be done through an official government website.
Grants That You Can Get via Phone, Email, or No Application at All
Again, any grant you wish to receive must be applied for through an official government site. There are no grants that are awarded without an application, and you cannot apply for a grant via phone or email.
Grants from Fake Companies That Sound Official
A scammer will use certain words in their fake company’s name to fool you. For instance, they may say they are calling from “The Federal Bureau of Grants” or some other department to get you to think it’s a valid offer.
Fake Addresses or Phone Numbers That Seem Real
It’s quite easy for a con artist to fake the number or location where they are calling from. You may see “Washington, D.C.” on your caller ID when the call is really coming from somewhere overseas.
The same holds true for addresses. The address of an actual government entity may be used to trick you, even though that location has nothing to do with grants.
Grant Money That Can Be Spent as You Wish
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a legitimate grant from the government that can be spent on whatever you’d like. The vast majority of grants are awarded for specific purposes, and those do not include things like electronics or other luxuries.