Recently there has been an upswing in telephone scams involving phony federal grants. The scam begins with a telephone call from someone purporting to be from the Federal Grant Educational Department, US Grant Commission or some other real or phony government agency informing you that you are eligible for a substantial federal grant. Your caller ID may even support the scam by indicating that indeed the call is from a federal agency, however, caller ID can be fooled by a technique called “spoofing” to make an illegitimate call appear genuine. What you are told that you need to do in order to receive your money varies somewhat from scammer to scammer, but generally involves you paying a transfer fee or application fee before they can send you the money. Some scammers request your bank account number so that they can electronically deposit your check. This is a scam and any payment you make to the scammer is lost forever and you do not receive anything in return. If you provide your bank account number, you will soon find your bank account emptied by the scammer.
Whenever you receive a telephone call, you can never be sure who is calling you. Never provide personal information, such as a bank account number to anyone over the phone. It is also important to remember that the federal government does not call people about federal grants who have never applied for a grant. Most importantly, the federal government does not charge any fee to apply for a grant.
People looking for legitimate information about grants, loans and other financial aid information for higher education can go to the federal government’s website www.StudentAid.ed.gov. Information about federal loans for housing, disaster relief, education and veterans benefits can be found at the federal government’s website www.GovLoans.gov. Finally For information about a range of other federal benefits for which you may be eligible, you can go the federal government’s website www.Benefits.gov.