Is This a Grant Scam?

“You are eligible for FREE grants! Just fill out this quick application: First & Last Name, Home Address, Birthdate, Social Security Number (SSN), and Bank Account & Routing Numbers to receive the grant” — that is a grant scam.

You answer a phone call: “Hi, this is Greg McCaffrey from the Federal Bureau of Grant Awards. Based on your tax records, you qualify for a federal grant of $5,300. You just have to pay the service fee of $125 via wire transfer” — that is a grant scam.

Unfortunately, a lot of people attempt to scam us out of our hard-earned money, and they often use the guise of government grants. The specific tactics, questions, and circumstances scam artists use will continue to change, so we have to remain aware and cautious. How do we avoid being a victim of a scam?

Three Tips to Avoid Scams:

  • Never give out your personal information, especially your SSN or banking information, unless you know the organization asking for it and that they have a legal right to ask for it.
  • Never pay for a grant—that’s not how legitimate federal grants work. Learn about the real grant process here.
  • If the caller or messages are pressuring you for money or information, it is a scam. End the communication and do not give them anything else.

Trends in Grant Scams

We have seen a recent surge in phone calls requesting that people purchase gift cards and provide the card numbers over the phone in order to receive a “grant.” They are lying; there is no grant.

Gift Cards for Grants are a scam

Social engineering is another very common, and unfortunately effective, tactic scammers have used. Social engineering is the process of creating a network of fake social media accounts, pages, and profiles that make the person or organization appear legitimate.

This can be tough to sort out, so take the time to research the organizations online. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your friends or colleagues what they think before you share any personal information or agree to make a payment.

In the end, this is what the scammers are after – your personal information and your money. So, if you follow the tips above, you can protect yourself from many of these scams.

Preventing and Reporting Grant Scams

3 thoughts on “Is This a Grant Scam?

    1. Hi Gene, to verify if a program is a real grant program, you should go to the federal agency website and look for information there.

      You can also go to the Search Grants tab on Grants.gov to see if the program is there and currently open for applications: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html

      You can also search Benefits.gov to verify if it is a real federal financial assistance program: https://www.benefits.gov/

      Can you provide more information and links about this program?

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  1. A clarification on Tip #2: If you are uncomfortable preparing a grant proposal or need assistance, you may want to consult a grant professional. Grant professionals are paid for the services they provide to assist their clients in evaluating grant funding opportunities and preparing grant proposals.

    Also, please note that grant professionals are not paid on a commission basis or on a percentage of the grant. This would be a violation of the Grant Professionals Association Code of Ethics.

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