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

24 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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    2. I was called told I was going to get 92, 000 , any way I wanted Western Union, auto deposit, Money Gram. But you had to get a gift card for 200.00. I said scam and hung up. Its happens to me before. Their Indian decent.

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    3. They keep calling me from different numbers from Washington DC on down New York Minnesota Florida even tell me if I get a prepaid card for 397 they’d send me a $5,000 Grant and they swear it’s not a scam and that’s all they want is just 397 that’s $3.97 this is getting totally ridiculous special night I’m already get a government grant to go to school you need to catch these people let me know if it was legit it would be nice especially now that the holidays are here

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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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  2. I was called today from a Washington D.C. phone number telling me I was approved for a grant for $9700 but I had to go get a gift card and go to western union they gave me tracting numbers and grant number how do i know if I’m getting scammed

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    1. This is a scam. The federal government will never ask for gift cards in exchange for a grant. To receive a federal grant, you have to apply, and these grants are generally made to benefit the public — not to benefit an individual.

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  3. I just got a call for a federal grant supposedly I took a survey and paid my taxes on time so I was selected to received a once in a lifetime grant of 8600 dollars, then I asked what survey did I take? And the guy didn’t answer he just kept on telling me the options I had to get “money” lol

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  4. I was called today, from a cell phone number. Was told I had a 14,600.00 grant. They would send it money gram. Then they told me that I had to go to Walmart, and pat a 300.00 dollar processing fee. Told them to forget it. Why would the government offer to give me that much money. Then ask me to pay for it? The number I was told to call was 631-570-8491. Please do something about this

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    1. Hi Tammy, as the blog post explains, that is a scam attempt. Do not give the scammers any personal information or money. Never pay for a grant—that’s not how legitimate federal grants work. That is not the federal government calling you.

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  5. I heard the government gives out free grants is that ture? And if it is are there any for single unemployed mothers

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  6. I know these people keep calling and calling …about the grant money.. they’re so aggressive…then when I talk to one…he or she said do answer the phone to no one.else.. creepy!

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  7. I contacted the usaid empowerment agency about a grant they said I qualified for a $15,000 payout all I needed to do was send them a processing fee of $450 itthis a scam

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  8. I was told I got a grant and needed $200 for the registration fee. I told them I could only come up with $50 . He said to go get an iTunes card and I did . Ugh. Then said they needed $200 to Walmart-Walmart the money to me gave me this website.

    A username and a password To login. Told me to take us much time as I needed to pay and swore it’d be reimbursed … I already gave them $50 and refuse to give more until I know if it’s a scam

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  9. I just literally got off the phone with someone who called me, saying that I have been approved for a government grant of $9,000. I was given a grant code and the number to call to set up how I would get my grant. I have quite a few of these codes and numbers in my collection.

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