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BBB: Watch out for government grant scams

Posted: 9:36 AM, Jul 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-18 15:38:12Z
According to Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker, many people are seeing the government grants scam once again. Thieves pretend to offer victims free grant money, but are really looking for bank account information.
 
BBB's Dale Dixon says the scammers will contact you by phone, email or social media.
 
"No matter the medium, the message is similar: the government is awarding "free grants." Your application is guaranteed to be accepted, and you'll never have to repay the money. You can use the "grant" to pay bills, make repairs, or pay education costs," Dixon said.
 
It may sound too good to be true, but Dixon says people are falling for it.
 
"If you reply to the ad or take the bait on the phone, scammers congratulate you on your eligibility. Then, they will ask for your checking account information. They will claim that they need to, "deposit your grant directly into your account" or cover a one-time "processing fee." Whatever the story, two things are for sure. You will never see the money, and you've just given scammers access to your bank account," Dixon explained.
 
BBB says the phone number connected to the scam is from the Washington, D.C., area. However, phone numbers can deceive.
 
"We call it caller ID spoofing. Con artists use Internet technology to disguise their area code in caller ID systems. Although it may look like they're calling from Washington, D.C., they could be calling from anywhere in the world," Dixon said.
 
Keep in mind the government typically doesn't call, text or email. Government agencies normally communicate through the mail, so be very cautious of any unsolicited calls, text messages or emails you receive.
 
BBB also warns, 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. A real government agency won't ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant that you have already been awarded.
 
For more information visit, www.bbb.org .