3 Facts to Help You Avoid Grant Scams

When you receive an unprompted call or email that promises money in exchange for a fee or your personal information, do not give the scammer your money or information.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently published a helpful resource, and we wanted to share three facts that will help you avoid becoming a grant scam victim:

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Read This Before You Respond to SAM-Related Spam

If you have been in the federal grants community for any time at all, you probably know that your organization needs an account with the System for Award Management (SAM), or SAM.gov, to do business (e.g., receive grants) from the U.S. government.

SAM registration is relatively simple (you’ll need a DUNS number), and it’s free. However, there is no shortage of spam calls and emails offering paid services to register and maintain your registration. These can cost hundreds of dollars, but be cautious when responding to such appeals. Registering, renewing, and updating your SAM registration is absolutely free.

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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:

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Gift Cards for Grants? No, Thank You.

Know this: the Federal Government will never call you and promise you a grant in exchange for any form of payment, whether it’s a gift card, a small monthly payment, or a one-time fee.


Look out for scam artists who call and pose as government employees – including people who claim to work for Grants.gov.

Some may even use a fake Facebook page in an attempt to convince you that they are legitimate. They are not legitimate; don’t give them your money.

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5 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Grant Fraud or Scams

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.

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Answers to Your Grant Fraud Questions

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.

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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?”

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