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

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"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

Did it go thru

Omg, the same thing happened to me. A women called saying that I was awarded with a federal government of 9 grand and that I needed to call back at 844-334-3245 with a confirmation number and then the lady on this phone was telling me I needed to register with western union so they can give me my acct number fund?? But to do this I need to go to Walmart and get an iTunes card loaded it with $200 and then call her back using that card and her reason was it because the govt takes it as a form of payment. Like seriously come on.. Fruad

Yeah they have me the same number an Asian woman called saying I was selected for a 9000$ grant she gave me a 6 digit ID and told me to call 844 334 3245 the scary thing is she had my name number and current address so I call the number a lady answers and I was like if this wAs really the government you have to push 2 to get to this department and so on I hung up when she wanted money and got mad when I told her they called the wrong person cause I was broke haha hope no one falls for this

I just got a call from this guy saying since I never ben in jail and pay my taxes on time I am going to receive a 8500.scam season has started beware

Some guy named Joseph smith just called me lol. I'm a kid but I'm not that stupid. Talking about I'm eligible for a 5000$ grant because of my good record.

I just had a very similar call, from a foreign woman that I could barely understand, rewarding me $8,100 for paying bills on time and being a good citizen. They had all of my information, including a new email I set up within the last 2 months, and wanted me to call the manager, 206-317-7341 (Seattle) with my confirmation number TL321. I asked how she could confirm this wasn't a scam and she repeated where she was calling from and to call the manager number for confirmation. Needless to say I'm not calling. I have received four calls in the last 24 hours from 'unknown caller' and number '00000'. Clearly I am on someone's list.

I just got a check in the mail. Called the bank and there were no funds. I'll let you know that if you call the bank and you can access a branch and I there are available funds... You could cash it. Anything like that is considered a scam. Escrow stuff. So do not deposit it.

Same happen to me. I had my resume posted online and I received a call to service computers and because I was looking for work at the time I thought this was legit. I agreed to repair the systems for $600.00 and the client was sending me a check for $3000.00 which will cover my labor and shipping fees to Florida and the rest of the money needs to be returned to the receiver in Florida. I did receive the $3000.00 check within 2 days and I deposited the check and inform the client that I deposited. He then tells me to withdraw the extra funds and send it to Florida and at this time I still did not receive the computers for repair and I waited and waited to find out the check bounced and I was charged the bounce fee from the bank. ibtried contacting the client and never heard from them again. Now I'm getting calls from 202-847-2728 regarding receiving $7000.00 from the government for not having any bad credit or bankruptcy on my credit report. Once I ask this is odd that the government is giving free money and right away they hang up.

Afternoon, For the past two(2) days I have been receiving the following calls: ((210) 775-2382. The first time I was informed I was approved for a loan, but had to show I had money in my account. "Click". Now the same number today informed me I was approved for a grant. Everything was running smoothly--I initially as what is this going to cost me and the heavy accented individual stated nothing because it is a grant and you do not have to pay grants back. It seems homework was done. At the end of the conversation "the bomb" dropped--well to get this grant they are collecting for charities and a $200 donation was required--then I would get the grant money. I told the heavy accented individual you lied to me you stated there was "catch" then he really got upset and the next thing was "Click". I am aware there is no way all these individuals can be apprehended, but something needs to be done.

He is the agent larry batten in charge of the grant He told me the grant isn't a loan and i will not be having to pay it back. I can help you with their information to link them and apply for it as well.

I need proof......

I got a call from them and I ask what will it cost me. they never answer the question. i ask where are they calling from, he never said. tonight, i got another call and when i stopped the woman she said she said love me. what!!!!!!!!!!!!! and hung up. LOLOLOL the next time they call me i will stop them in their tracks by asking so many questions. i guarantee they will hang up.

206-451-5842 Could this be another number or a scam??

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 the help

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.

I too have received info from Richard Williams. He wants me to send $950 for processing fees,shipping and handling charges. I have a friend who swears that he's real and that she's already received the money from him. This woman has always been trustworthy and I honest with me in the past but I'm extremely leery of his wanting money up front. If anyone has any idea of what's going on with him I'd appreciate your imput.

You're right to think twice about sending money to someone you don't know. Don't give personal information, or money, or your bank or credit card number to someone you don't know.

Scammers make all kinds of promises to convince people to send them money. They might say you  qualify for a “free grant” for tuition, home repairs or unpaid bills. The caller could say he's from a “government” agency or some business that has an official sounding name. They say: you're guaranteed to get a grant. But these “money for nothing” grant offers usually are scams.

 

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.

Yes how do apply for a great. Do I have to send money to get the great. I did it one time sent some money order and never got my money back and they never sent the money I apply for. Is this a scam

The federal government will not give you a grant. If somebody says they will give you a grant, but they tell you to send money, it's a scam. Don't send money.

If you need help with money, and federal benefits and assistance look at Benefits.gov. or call the federal government at 1-800-333-4636.

I want to say thank you for monitoring this site and am praying you are still doing so.

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 just got that phone call too. They said I'll get $6,952.00 if I pay $3.89. I can use the money but not if it is a scam.. Help.....

I got that same onetoday

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.

Hello my is Betty i just receiver a calle For a men name Steven potter he said to me the am gram us government for $10,250 hir wan me to go to walmark to my make money gram direct deposit In order to receive my gram,, i need help is this true ?

The Federal Trade Commission says that “money for nothing” grant offers usually are scams, whether you see them in your local paper or a national magazine, or hear about them on the phone. To learn more, read Government Grant Scams.

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.

@Sanders84 I am currently going through the same issues with Loancare.

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

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