Officials with the Better Business Bureau are warning residents to beware of scammers who prey on government grant confusion.
The classic government grant scam is nothing new. Scammers have been using the technique for years. It has remained a threat over time because most people are not familiar with the federal grant system and how it works.
The scam is similar to a phishing phone call. Potential targets usually receive a phone call or voicemail informing them they are the lucky recipient of a government grant. In reality, this is not the case. The calls have been known to come from a phone number with a 202 area code, making them seem more legitimate – as if they originate in Washington, D.C. The caller will claim to be from a credible-sounding source or organization, such as the "Federal Grant Association," though the organization does not exist. The caller asks for checking account information so the "federal grant money" can be directly wired into the account.
Do not fall for this scam!
It is important to remember that Americans, especially college students, must apply for a federal grant. The federal government will never contact someone, letting them know they've won a grant, for which they have not applied.
Additional tips to avoid government grant scams include:
1. Don't give out your bank account information to anyone you don't know.
2. Don't pay any money for a "free" government grant. A real government agency won't ask for a processing fee for a grant you have already been awarded.
3. Look-alikes aren't the real thing. Even though a caller may say they are from the "Federal Grants Administration," doesn't mean they actually are. There is no such agency. Also, just because a number may appear to originate in Washington, the caller could be calling from anywhere across the nation or around the world.
Monica Horton, the President of the Better Business Bureau Of North Central Texas, appeared on Newschannel 6 at Noon Monday to warn Texomans about the scam.