Some U.S. government grant scams include people and fake organizations offering free money, offering assistance for educational payments, offsetting home and business costs and providing financial assistance for household repairs. Grant scams work in several ways, say experts at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS. Scammers pose as individuals or entities, and lure potential victims with magazine and newspaper advertisements or through direct phone calls.
Although scammers attempt to use several methods of disguise, they often offer the same general introductions and taglines, which people can be on the lookout for, notes HHS. These lines include guaranteeing a grant or offering a full refund, asking for bank account or credit card information, requesting a processing fee and announcing that people have been selected for a special offer.
Posing agents may even claim to be federal officials, or indicate some affiliation with credible federal agencies. However, experts at HHS remind consumers that the federal government, by law, cannot approach citizens to offer a grant, nor can they solicit funds for grants. People or agencies asking for that information or making a grant offer, therefore, are doing so illegally.
In addition to knowing the telltale signs of fraud, people can take several protective actions to avoid being caught in scams. They can check a list of real agencies on the website usa.gov and never give out bank account information to strangers. Registering with the national "do not call" list blocks scam calls. Lastly, people can report suspicious actions to the Federal Trade Commission.