What Is A Grant Scam?
A grant scam is an incidence of attempted online theft or identity theft.
Someone contacts you to say that you are eligible for a government grant. They ask you to give your personal details of checking account information over to that person so that you can receive the grant. However, this is not what will happen – instead, you will be scammed.
Grant scams can take a number of forms. By far the most common start when you receive an email stating that you’re eligible for a grant, usually due to an error on your tax return or something similar. You’ll then be prompted to send your details across to what you might believe is a legitimate institution. A number of these scammers use fake names such as “The Federal Grants Authority,” so be sure to research any institution that is asking for your information.
However, these aren’t the only form of grant scam. You might be searching for information related to your taxes and come across a website with fake information. You might even receive a phone call from someone claiming to be able to offer you a grant. Do not fall for this. We’ll supply the process below so you can understand what really happens with government grants.
Why Would Anyone Do This?
As a law-abiding citizen, it’s hard to understand why someone would do something like a grant scam. If you’re not overly technologically literate, like the victims of most online scams, then this goes doubly so.
A grant scam works on the basis of identity theft or compromising your bank account; the emails or phone calls follow a script. You’ll be congratulated on having received a sum of money, and then you’ll be instructed to hand over your bank details in order for the “grant” to be deposited. In fact, you will give over your personal information for use by the scammer so that they can withdraw funds from your account.
How To Avoid A Grant Scam And Other Online Tricks
The most important thing you can do is be vigilant with your personal details. Do not give out your details over the phone and do not email your personal details.
If you are in touch with someone who you believe to be a government agent, then do your due diligence and check that they are who they say they are. Most scammers will use official-sounding names for boards that do not exist, for example, the “Federal Grants Initiative.” Generally, all information regarding grants and governmental agencies can be found on the official government sites for the various agencies.
You can also put yourself on the Do Not Call registry. This will ensure that your number is kept private in many cases, and will thus not be available to scammers who access phone lists in bulk and ring constantly hoping to catch one naïve person.
There isn’t a Do Not Contact registry for emails, but the same applies – do not give it out unless necessary, and even then, makes sure it’s in the right hands. Most legitimate agencies and organizations will have secure online portals for collecting financial information, so never email this information to anyone.
If in doubt, you should always seek advice. Do not blindly accept anything an unknown entity might tell you. Any real government agency will understand your need for security, so make use of that.