"Free Money" from the Government: Variations on a Scheme

"There is currently money available NOW right here in your area, to help pay your bills."

"NO lines, NO waiting, NO credit needed. This is YOUR money and will be sent back to the federal government if not used in your area."

Federal officials, consumer advocates, and businesses are hearing from people who have responded to ads, websites, phone calls, text messages, and visits from salespeople who claim the federal government will pay their bills – for everything from utilities, cable, and cell phones to their mortgages, student loans, and insurance premiums. The salespeople are scam artists. There is no federal bank account set up to pay your bills.

The FTC and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, say these cons are pros who may use half-truths to draw people in: The federal government has public assistance programs to help people in need. But this so-called program is a fraud.

If you respond to the scam artist's come-on, they'll charge you a processing fee and ask you for your personal information, which may include your name, Social Security number (SSN), credit card number, debit card number or other personal information. In exchange, they will give you instructions on how to use bank account and routing numbers to pay your bills online, or print checks so you can make your payments in person or by mail.

At first, you may think your bills have been paid. It's not until the payment is rejected, and you're notified that you still owe the money, that the scam is revealed. At that point, you may owe late or penalty fees to the company you thought you were paying as well as possibly owing fees to your bank for returned or rejected payments. The damage doesn't stop there: Not only do you still owe the money, but you're out the "fee" you paid the scam artist, you're at risk for identity theft, and you could be fined or even arrested for passing bad checks or trying to use a bank account that doesn't belong to you.

If you see a pitch for this scam, share it with your local police department, Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General's office, and the FTC. If you followed the scammer's instructions, contact your creditors immediately. It's also a good idea to review your credit report, which you can do every twelve months for free. To order a free copy of your report, call 1-877-322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted; accounts you didn't open; and debts on your accounts that you can't explain. Check that information like your SSN, address(es), and name or initials are correct. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed.

The Facts About Getting Government Assistance

  • The government provides help through benefit programs for job training, nutritional assistance, education, and health care, among other needs.
  • To get government assistance, you must apply. Each program has specific eligibility requirements.
    You shouldn't have to pay a fee to apply for a government assistance program.
  • Not all government assistance programs provide cash payments. Assistance programs that provide payments may have conditions and limitations.

For More Information

For information about federally-funded benefit and assistance programs, visit Benefits.gov. If you don't have access to the internet, call USA.gov's National Contact Center at 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm Eastern Time, to speak to an information specialist.

Tagged with: debt, government, loan, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I got a call today from someone offering a government grant. I was told that I would get a check deposited into my account in the amount of 8500.00 if I just gave them my account number, Well I told the foreign speaking person on the phone that if they mailed it to me that I would deposit it myself. Well she began very angry when I said this to her. So if you get any calls for the 202 area code beware. It is a scam. Dont answer unless you know the number and if the person that is offering the government grant not American then you know it is something strange going on....DON"T GIVE INFORMATION OUT PERIOD

The same 202 number called me they should be in prison!!!!!!! They wanted me to get a greendot card from Walmart for $250.00 and call them back. Really!!!!! Nobody is that stupid!!!!!! They should be in prison!!!!!!

My daughter received a call today from 202-470-1409 and he told her his name was Gary Tyler and that he worked in DC for the Government. He told her that he could get her free money from the government but he needed her to pay a small fee of 200.00. She called me and gave me his name and number so I called him back. I got a machine telling me to leave a message and then it said the mail box was full. Within a few minutes later I received a call from this so called Gary Tyler and I explained to him that I was aware that there was Government Grants and Loans out there but the Government would ask for that kind of money. I then told him not to call my daughter back with their lying bull....

I was trying to get a small pay day loan, and was declined. After paying several fees trying to get the loan, I was promised a free grant plus all my fees back...but would have to pay just one more fee to receive the grant! Over $1,500.00 is what they end up getting out of me. Im devestated...was having to come up with that money somehow each time they said I had to pay another fee. Although they sound so promising and adimit that your funds would be in the bank 45 minutes later, yet they will tell you if you dont pay this last fee...the deal would cancel and how sorry they were that none of my money would be refundable. This will go on and on until you just give up. Im turning every bit of this in, and pray these people will be caught and prosecuted!! However their confidence in this whole scam thing only tells me they are so good there is just noway of them being caught, and I certainly will not be able to get any of my money back! Sad! Hope FTC out smarts them and finds them all! Now Im in a whole lot worse shape than I was in before.

I received a call today from 2028553175, I could barely understand him, he had a federal grant for me all I had to do was western Union the government 260 dollars then I would receive it back plus my 8500 dollar grant. Thank god I called the ftc!!

i need help in caughting up on paying bill and borrowing money.

I reeived a message from a facebook Aquaintance, saying he rec'd $70,000 from a gov't agent named Edward Robertson Nicholars. He gives the white house as his address and this friend said he saw MY name on the list to receive my money. He said this guy has a facebook page and I need to "like" him and message him to receive my money. I did this and he said I need to fill out and return my "form". Which I have no idea what he is talking about. He left an address and message and told me this is a grant funded in part by Mark Zukerberg to deserving people. Here is part of the message I received:::"To Success and Focus For Deaf People, Hearing, Poor and Retire Workers in the Community, Supported By The United State Of America
Government."
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW,Washington United State
AIM: MSMLtdRep.
Reff No: BE102/85428

I also got a message via facebook, claiming send $800 to get $90,000.00. From a man named Willans Robert.

IS THERE ANY MONEY. OUT THERE FOR REAL. AND CAN I GET SOME OF IT.

I HAVE THE SAME THOUGHTS. WANT TO KNOW WHO IS FOR REAL OUT THERE THAT CAN HELP US THAT DESPERATELY NEED MONEY TO PAY BILLS. PEOLPE ON THE PHONE WITH THOSE FOREIGN ACCENTS ARE PLAYING WITH US. THEY NEED TO STOP IT. IM ALREADY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POT, CANT GO NO FURTHER. ANYONE KNOW SOMEWHERE I CAN THE MONEY I NEED. THE FOREIGN SPEAKING PEOPLE ON THE PHONE, WATCH OUT. THEY WANT YOU TO SEND THEM MONEY TO GET MONEY. ITS A SCAM. AND THOSE SO-CALL WEBSITE LENDERS THAT MATCH YOU TO A LOANER IS BULL.

Need to now if this graduated is one of the one's that needs to be paid back not

I lost my job... i haven't been having luck find me another one & i need help to pay bill & buy me some food for me & my 2 boys

Call 211

im just wondering if there vreally is money out there to help US?

I paid $2700 for a grant for the blind, deaf and loss of hearing.......It started as $300, a little more here and there. All wire transfers. Stay away from Special Agent James and Harry Curry.....They are very good at what they do. Very convincing.....but thieves.

How do i get money from the goverment i Really could use it . I would love to just not worry about anything and just be happy...forever....

About a month ago, I got a call from US government grants and used my credit card to pay fee of $3.89 after all, that is a coffee. I requested a number I could call them back at and a website. after I got off the phone, I tried the website and it wasn't real, so I tried the number and would only get a recording. I immediately called my credit card company and stopped payment. Since then, I have had numerous other attempts for me to do the same thing even when I request them to remove my name.

i am a single father of two young boys. i have had two heart attacks at the age of 32. my sons are 11 and 9. I could really use some extra help. thank you very much

Trying to build up a business

How can I get the free government to help pay off bills and debit. thank you Bernice Phelps

I need money to pay bills .

I need monry ti pay my credit cars

I received a phone call today from Travis, who sounded India Indian, claiming to be from the US Grants Dept., 200 Independence Ave. SW, Washington DC 20201. He offered me an $8K grant because I paid my taxes on time, had no criminal record, & no bankruptcies. He provided me with a money approval # GK 1245 & a security code #2382. In order to proceed with getting the 'grant', I was to call his account manager at 206 905-9357. Smelling a rat, I called the FBI who referred me to the FTC. I find out that I am one of many who have been contacted....but mercifully not taken in by the scam.

I received a call today saying I was awarded a $7000 federal grant I could use for anything and not have to pay back. they wanted to deposit this money to my checking account or debit card. When I said I had neither, they said I could recieve it by a Money Gram. They gave me a verification number and then had me call another number for further instructions. Both people I talked to were foreign speakers. I was to instantly call a number they gave me to talk to the second person, which I did. This person gave me his name and title and verification number. I was to call him when I got to the store for the money gram for further instrucions for the store. But I had to pay $300 because the money would come from the Federal bank of New York, with the promise this money would be returned. I told him I did not have the money at this time. He said I could call any time with the use of my verification number after I had the required $300. He was very convincing. Luckily I did not have the money or I might have fallen for this.
Beware they are good. The number they had me call back was 202-600-8694. Do not fall for this no matter how good it sounds. I really could have used that money. But knew it was a no win scam.

Are you People really that naive? that you think someone over the phone is going to magically give you money? c'mon..get real go to work!

To good to be true

i am 64 years old i have mortgage with loancare,every they
go up which they done this iam on a fix income i am
bearly gettng by now they have another $64.00, i need
help very bad.thank you very much.

I am in dete, I am disabled,I will lose my home if I do not get financial help.

I got a call from 202 738 1131 saying that the Federal Govement said I qualified for a 8400.00 grant that I did not have to pay back the guy sounded like he was from India I could not understand him because of his accent he asked what I would do with the money I told him I would pay medical bills he wanted my checking account number so he could put the money into my account he got very upset when I would not give him the account number I asked who could verify who he was and what agency had the free grant I told him if I could not verify that information I was going to call the BBB he hung up and so far has not called back.Beware of this 2027381131 number Iam glad I called the BBB an got the FTC number who was aware of the Scam If it sounds like it's to good to be true it probably is. Thanks

You can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

Watch this video to learn more about how to report a scam to the FTC and why it matters.

I NEED HELP WITH MY FRIST MOUTH RENT AND SECURITY DEPOSIT. YOU SEE I AM HOMELISS BECAUSE MY HOME HAD BEDBUGS. TO BE HOMELISS IT COST MONEY.TO LEVE THE STREET WILL BE GOOD FOR ME.SO THANKYOU.

I need money to pay doctor bills

i like lots of money

I would like to notify who is for real and who is scaming.

I need money to pay my bills and to start a small business

I.am in desperated need of money to pay lots if bills need to know who's not playing games and will help out.

It,s the frist time at this site so I don,t know what to think.

I got a call telling me I have been approved for a free grant. Wanted a $3.oo on my credit card for processing fee. Yeah, I am going to give all my credit card info. to a voice on the phone. I hung up!

Was contacted by a schemer saying I had been PPOVED FOR A GRANT WITH NO INTEREST and no pay back. Wanted me to put a $3.00 processing fee. Yeah right. I'm going to give my credit card info. to A VOICE ON THE PHONE. Not!!!!!

I was Scamed out of 4,000,00 about 5 yrs ago

Leave a Comment

Commenting Policy

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.