Inflation is making everyone anxious, so when you receive an email or a call regarding a possible legitimate way to receive aid from the government, some of us listen. This process might start with an email or a phone call from scammers pretending to be a government agency, such as the Social Security Agency, bringing news that you are eligible for monetary aid the government is providing for assistance to help people in need. Perhaps you came across a social media post, a website offering financial assistance from a government agency, or received a text message from distant friends or family members who claimed to have received thousands of dollars in federal funding and provided a number for you to call.
Offers of free money from government grants are generally scams. Someone may offer you funding for education, small business, home repairs, or even unpaid bills. The Federal Government awards billions of dollars annually to institutions and organizations for different projects, research, and programs, but it does not give away grants for individuals to pay off their bills or start a small business. These are all most likely to be scams. Here is how to avoid government grant scams:
How to Identify Grant Scammers
- Did you apply for a grant? Legitimate grants do not just appear randomly- one must apply for them. If you receive a grant, even though you did not apply for any government grant, it is most likely a scam.
- Money is involved. Government grant scams may start by asking legitimate questions such as personal information, including your Social Security number, to get you to believe them. They will tell you the information collected is to assess if you are eligible for the grant money. Then they are likely to ask for your bank details to deposit financial aid money or even ask you to pay an up-front fee. Or they may ask you to pay those fees with a wire transfer, a gift card, or cryptocurrency. These are all possible red flags.
Also Read: Tips to Avoid Mobile Payment App Scams
- You receive a grant through a lucky draw. It is a scam if you receive a notification about having been awarded a grant at random. The government does not award grants, scholarships, or financial aid based on a raffle or lucky draw; an individual must first apply for a grant through a legitimate federal website such as Grants.gov.
- Scammers try to use official names which do not exist. Besides fake phone numbers, scammers are most likely to pretend they are from a real government organization, often choosing the Social Security Administration. Or they will make up a legitimate-sounding official name like the Federal Grants Administration, which does not really exist.
- Too good to be true. Scammers make big promises to lure you in. They may say you can get a grant for business expenses, household bills, education, or personal needs.
How to Avoid Government Grant Scams?
- The government is unlikely to reach out to you first about a grant. It will not reach out to you by email, text, or social media and are much less likely to give out grants to pay for random needs. A legitimate government grant will require a formal process with an application from you and for a particular purpose, such as education.
- Do not divulge your personal and banking information to anyone who claims to be from a government organization. Remember, government grant agencies will never ask for your bank account details, Social Security number, or credit card number.
- Do your research before claiming a free grant. Avoid scammers who claim you can apply for government grants over a phone call.
- Do not pay an up-front fee for a list of government grants or to assess if you qualify for the grant. You will only find information about government grants at grants.gov, free of cost.
- If you have paid a scammer, contact the company or platform you used to send the funds. The sooner you act, the better.
Want more updates on security? Visit https://blog.excellimatrix.com/ or follow us on Facebook & LinkedIn or Contact us at 406-646-2102 and get your questions answered.