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RECOGNIZE Phone Fraud Learn about common telemarketing scams and how to avoid them.
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Government Grant Telemarketing Scams

Because you pay your income taxes on time, you have been awarded a $12,500 government grant! To get your free grant, simply give us your checking account information, and we will deposit the grant into your bank account!

You may receive a message like this, where the caller claims to be from a government agency or some other organization with an official sounding name. Or you may see an ad that claims you will qualify to receive a "free grant" to pay for education costs, home repairs, home business expenses, or bills. In any case, the claim is the same: your application for a grant is guaranteed to be accepted, and you'll never have to pay the money back.

Offers of "money for nothing" grants usually are scams, whether you hear about them on the phone or see them in your local paper, a national magazine, or a slick looking website.

How to Avoid Grant Scams

  • Don't pay any money for a "free" government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a "free" government grant, it isn't really free. The names of agencies and foundations that award grants are available for free at any public library or on the Internet. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is www.grants.gov.

  • Check the correct names of government agencies. Just because the caller says they're from the "Federal Grants Administration" doesn't mean that they are. There is no such government agency. Check your telephone directory.

  • Take your time. There's no rush. Scammers pressure people to divulge their bank account information so that they can steal the money in the account. Always keep your bank account information to yourself. Don't share it unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is necessary.

  • Eliminate telemarketing calls you don't want by registering your number on the National Do Not Call Registry.

FTC Publications

Grant scammers generally follow a script: they congratulate you on your eligibility, then ask for your checking account information so they can "deposit your grant directly into your account," or cover a one-time "processing fee." The caller may even assure you that you can get a refund if you're not satisfied. In fact, you'll never see the grant they promise. They disappear with your money. Learn more