Unfortunately, there are people out there who try to take advantage of those who are looking for government grants or benefits. At Grants.gov, we often receive questions about suspected grant fraud in blog comments, on Twitter @grantsdotgov, and at the Grants.gov support center.
Here are two of the most common types of questions you have asked:
“I received a call from your General Manager for Grants saying that I’m eligible for a grant, but I need to pay before it’s transferred. Is this real or a scam?”
This is definitely a scam. Sometimes the call is from “Mr. Anderson” or the “Federal Bureau of Grant Awards”—these are both scams as well.
How do I know this is a scam? (1) The U.S. government does not charge a fee to people to apply for a federal grant. (2) The government will not call or email you when you haven’t even applied for a grant.
Never pay for a “grant” when someone contacts you out of nowhere regarding something you have not applied for; this is a scam. Never transfer money to anyone who calls or emails you asking for a fee to receive government money; this is a scam.
“I received a call that showed up as the ‘Grants.gov Help Desk’ on my caller ID, and they said I was selected for a grant I can spend on house repairs. I just need to pay a small fee. Should I pay it?”
Again, the U.S. government will not call or email you to charge a fee for a grant. What about the caller ID? We’ve seen some great technological advancements that benefit society, but we’ve also seen scammers use this technology to increase their deception.
The Grants.gov Help Desk will only contact you after you initiate the contact to report a problem or question about using Grants.gov. This will be in relation to an existing ticket number, which you should already have to validate the call.
To avoid being a victim of fraud or a scam, become aware of some ways people may attempt to scam you. Here are some resources for preventing grant scams and fraud from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), White House, Better Business Bureau, and National Consumers League.
If you receive a suspicious phone call or email, report it immediately:
- Potential victims of fraud, call the FTC Fraud Hotline: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
- Health and Human Services (HHS) Fraud Hotline at 1-800-447-8477 or email email@example.com
As a last call to action, please share this article with your friends and followers to help us prevent future grant scams or fraud.