BBB warns of government grant scams

Published on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 23:24 - Written by Staff Reports

The Better Business Bureau is warning the public to be wary of phone calls claiming to come from bogus government grant agencies.

BBB has received calls from residents concerning unsolicited telephone grant offers. East Texans have received phone calls telling them they have been awarded a grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The caller asks for bank account and other personally identifying information. Ultimately, consumers do not receive any grant money, and may lose their own money in the process.

“Government agencies do not make phone calls to individuals to solicit funds or financial information,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, president and chief executive officer of BBB Serving Central East Texas, said in a statement. “There is an application process for all government grants. If you have not submitted an application for a grant, you will not be awarded one.”

BBB offers these tips:

Government grants have to be applied for in order to receive. The government notifies grant recipients through mailed letters or e-mails. Don’t give out your personal information to someone you don’t know. There are no fees for government grants.

To apply for a grant, visit grants.gov. To report those who pretend to hand out grants on the government’s behalf, call 1-800-447-8477.

BBB encourages consumers to sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222 or visiting donotcall.gov. If you are unsure if a business or a phone call is legitimate, please verify at bbb.org or call 903-581-5704.