News and Events

Don’t Fall for ‘Personal Grant’ Scams

You get a phone call from someone telling you the good news that there’s free grant money with your name on it!  It’s probably a scam.

Better Business Bureau is warning consumers in the Big Country area of a scam in which someone calls and claims the federal government has free grant money for you.

BBB advises consumers to know the red flags of a scam offering “free” or “personal” grants.

Most grant-makers, like foundations and the federal government, require an application process to receive funds, and there are typically guidelines to ensure funds are used for the betterment of the community.

Grants are not given because you are in need, the BBB states, and grants are generally given to fund a specific program or community initiative.

If residents are in need of assistance, they can apply to a nonprofit organization that has received a grant earmarked for distribution to the people it serves.

Better Business Bureau offers the following advice:

  •  If you have any questions at all about grant opportunities or suspect a grant scam, check with BBB at bbb.org.
  • Be wary if you are asked to provide money up-front to an unknown company before the company will provide the services promised.
  • Watch out for phrases like “free grant money.” Grants do not have to be repaid; there is no need to use the word “free.”
  • Organizations do not usually give out grants for personal debt consolidation, or to pay for other personal needs.
  • Visit your public library. Ask a librarian to help you find reference books describing foundations and the criteria they use in awarding grants.
  • If you are having financial problems, there are local non-profit credit counseling services who may be able to assist you with your problem at no charge.