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How to Avoid Scams for State and Government Grants

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The United States government supports various initiatives using grant money to qualified applicants. Whenever there is the appeal of free money you will find scammers and con artists using that free money as a carrot for an illegitimate scam.

Pursuing grants is a smart thing to do, but you have to be careful to avoid government grant scams along the way. With all the various potential scams out there you can use these tips as a guide to avoid not being scammed out of your hard-earned money.

Types of Government Grant Scams

Scammers can pose as government employees to take advantage of you.

Scammers can pose as government employees to take advantage of you.

To effectively avoid scammers you need to understand the types of scams as well as the things the government will never ask you to do in your grant application process.

The easiest way to avoid scams is to know what information the scammer wants. There are two main types of scams.

Stealing Your Personal Information

In this grant scam the scammer wants to get your personal information, and as much of it as possible. Government grant applications do normally require a lot of your information which is what makes this scam so believable.

The scammer wants to get your social security number, full name, and address in order to steal your identity to do further financial damage.

Stealing Your Money

The other grant scam is a little bit simpler. The scammer simply wants to steal your money and not worry about the identity theft side of things.

The scam revolves around either a fee that must be paid to apply for the government grant or for assistance in pushing your application through to the government. You pay with your credit card and that is the last you hear from the scammers.

3 Things the Government Will Never Do Regarding Grants

Here are some things the government will never ask you to do when applying for grants.

1. The government will never reach out to you regarding a grant.

This is a classic tactic of scammers. You receive a phone call about applying for a grant and end up with your identity stolen.

The call is from someone supposedly representing the grant calling you to let you know you qualify for the funds and have been awarded a grant. You must either pay a fee, give up your personal information, or both before you will be given information on how to collect on the grant.

If you haven’t applied for the grant there is no way you will have been awarded the grant. Anyone who calls you out of the blue to let you know you’ve gotten the award is trying to scam you.

2. You will never have to pay a fee to apply for a grant.

Applying for government grants is absolutely free. It usually is a lot of work to gather all of the information required, but there is never a fee charged by the government. Anyone that tries to charge you to send in your application or to expedite your application is a scammer.

3. You will never have to pay for government grant information.

One of the scams associated with government grants is paying a membership fee or one time charge to get access to a grant list. All government grants are published online on government websites; there is no need to pay for access to a list.

What are some other scams you’re aware of? Tell us and leave a comment!

Photo Credit: Cayusa


Published or updated April 2, 2013.
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