Lonnie Foland Jr. 
JRNM 151 student

A broken English accent greeted Eric Close, a public relations major, on the telephone claiming that he was qualified for an $80,000 grant. It was easy, all he had to do was send in $180 to the company through Western Union.

“When I was done sending the money I was to call them, and they would give me a tracking number for the grant money that they were sending me, and that I would receive it the same day,” said Close.

Not fully buying into the idea, Close came to Lorain County Community College’s bursar’s office to tell them of the suspicious phone call. The office told him that grants do not require fees.

“I went home and called the number, the woman answered the phone; I asked her for the company’s name and addresses, she told me it was the real thing, but kept asking me if I sent the money,” said Close. “ She kept asking me for the money but never gave me any information.”

“Nearly 23,000 people who lost money to scammers promising they could help them get free government grants will be getting $1.7 million in refunds, thanks to the efforts of the FTC,” stated Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist of the Federal Trade Commission.

If you have to pay money to claim a “free” government grant, it is not free. A real government agency will not ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant that you have already been awarded, or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions. The names of agencies and foundations that award grants are available free at any public library or on the Internet. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is grants.gov.

Phone numbers can deceive. Some con artists use Internet technology to disguise their area code in caller ID systems. Although it may look like they are calling from Washington, DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.

The government does not award grants by phone and does not require the immediate payment of any fees in order to receive a grant.

 

Additional tips:

·    Government grants have to be applied for in order to receive. Therefore, if you did not apply for the grant, you should not get one.

·    The government does not call you to contact you for such matters. You will not receive information from the government through a phone call.

·    If you get one of these calls, just hang up. You may be tempted to call back, but this will only give the scammer another opportunity to steal your information.

·    Do not give out your personal information to someone you do not know. Never give out your bank account numbers, date of birth, credit card number, or Social Security number to an unsolicited caller or anyone you do not know.

THERE ARE NO FEES ASSOCIATED WITH APPLYING FOR A GOVERNMENT GRANT.

ALL GOVERNMENT GRANTS INVOLVE AN APPLICATION PROCESS

GOVERNMENT GRANTS ARE AWARDED FOR EXPLICIT OPPORTUNITIES

GOVERNMENT GRANT APPLICATIONS AND INFORMATION IS FREE