While you search for grants or other financial assistance from the government, there are scam artists using sophisticated tricks to steal your money and personal information over the phone, through email, or physical mail. We have recently seen an increase in calls to our help desk from victims of fraud and scams. Here are five tips on how to protect yourself and your finances from scam artists.
1. Do not trust your caller ID, even if it says “Grants.gov.”
Scammers can use caller ID spoofing technology to make it appear that Grants.gov, or anyone else, is calling you. We will never call you and tell you to pay us in order to receive a grant nor will we ask you for your password even if you made the call.
2. Never give out your banking, financial, personal or other information over the phone or email to someone you do not know!
Even if the caller promises you a 5-figure grant for just $190, do not give them your information or money. They are trying to scam you.
3. You must apply for a grant before you receive a grant.
If you did not apply for a grant or other financial assistance, then you will not receive a grant from the U.S. government. Grants.gov does not make unsolicited calls or emails offering to give you money when you did not apply for it.
4. If the caller begins pressuring you for money, hang up.
Do not give in to the pressure, threats, or allure of quick money in exchange for personal information and/or money.
5. If the caller says you can pay with gift cards, hang up.
Do not buy someone a gift card in order to receive a grant. No legitimate grant-maker will require a gift card for the grant—this is clearly a scam.
Want more information? Here are helpful links and contacts:
- Detailed Grant Fraud information on Grants.gov
- Caller ID Spoofing information from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- Common Scams and Frauds from USA.gov
- If you think you’re a victim of a grant scam or fraud, call the FTC Fraud Hotline: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
- You may also contact the Health and Human Services (HHS) Fraud Hotline at 1-800-447-8477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org