You may have experienced this before, but let’s set the scene to refresh your memory…
Your phone rings, it’s from an unknown number, but hey, they have your area code, it must be someone you know. So, you pick up and the conversation goes a little like this:
Caller: My name is Paul Carson and I’m calling from the Federal Grant Education Department. We were wondering if we could take a few minutes of your time to ask a few questions that may qualify you to receive our grant.
You take a moment and think, did I even apply for a grant? But I do have college tuition, and I mean, if I answer the questions correctly, that could mean FREE MONEY and the road to being debt free!
You: Oh sure, I’d love to.
The caller proceeds to ask you a few basic questions, but when he gets to his final question, a red flag goes up!
Caller: Now that we’ve determined that you’re eligible to receive our grant, all we need is your checking account information so we can charge you a one time processing fee and deposit your grant directly into your account.
You think to yourself, “Hold up! Did he just say he needed my checking account information so he could deposit my grant? Something feels a little fishy about this.”
Caller: I sense your hesitation, but I promise that we can refund you….
Before he’s able to finish his sentence, you go with your gut feeling and hang-up the phone.
In this instance, you were lucky to dodge the Government Grant Scam bullet, but maybe, at another moment in time, you and others may have not been so lucky.
It’s not too late to prepare yourself and to prevent your friends and loved ones from being the next victim who’s intrigued to pay off their debt quickly, but in return, ends up being deeper in the hole.
Here are a few tips that will knock some sense into you the next time you’re lured into paying off your debt:
•Seeing is not always believing
Scammers are disguising their identity by “spoofing” their numbers and how they appear on your caller ID. This has been a trick that has helped them to convince their victims to provide personal information so it can be sold illegally or used for fraudulent activity.
•Keep your personal information private
Personal information is called personal because you should keep it to yourself. Never provide personal or financial information to unknown callers. Make sure that if you do, you are familiar with the company and understand why it is necessary that you share it with them.
•Federal government is busy
Despite us believing our needs should be first on the list, federal government agencies have a lot on their plate. The federal government is not taking the time to search for eligible grantees; it is not a priority. Agencies will only contact you if you have applied for a grant.
•Government grants are free
Not everything is free in the world, but applying or claiming a “free” government grant definitely is. Official government agencies will not ask you to pay a processing fee for grants that you’ve already been awarded, or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions.
If you’ve been a victim or have experienced this type of call, please report it to the FCC, to help raise awareness and prevent others from becoming the next victim of the government grant scam.