COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) has issued a scam alert regarding government grant scams.
The scam starts with a phone call that tries to convince the victim that they have received a government grant
ranging from $9,000 to $50,000. The victim is then asked to wire transfer a payment for the grant release or provide banking information so the scammer can deposit money.
Before sending money
or giving out bank account or other personal information to a caller, the SCDCA says consumers
should consider a few things.
- Be aware. Stop
and think- did you even apply for a grant? If not, this should be your first red
flag the caller is a scammer!
- Don't be fooled by
fake names. Scammers are skilled at making their story sound convincing.
While someone claiming to be from the "Federal Grants Administration" might
sound official, there is no such agency.
- Never verify
information. When fielding phone calls from persons asking about personal
information, feel free to hang up. Contact the business directly at the number
you know is correct to verify the call.
- Don't pay for
something that is supposed to be free. A real government agency won't ask
you to pay a processing fee for a grant you've already been awarded.
- "I know this
is a scam!" Let the scammer know they will be reported and will not be
getting payment or information from you! Share your experience with your friends
and family to help prevent them from becoming victims of this scam, too.
- Looking for a
grant? Visit www.grants.gov or your local library to search and apply for a
grant. Also, check with your local library branch to see if any free grant
workshops are on the calendar. There are companies out there that may offer to
prepare grant applications for you for a fee. Be wary of these offers and
remember that you can apply for grants for free!