"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

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

The desperate will always get scammed

watch tel 201 224 7220 and 206 453 0101 mr eric green scam.

I had a few DIFFERNT people call me,one said I won a 60Inc tv,wow I said,but this person know my name,an ASKED all I had to pay was a delivery fee,$75,well I said I sure do need a tv,cause I really didn't have one,I'm on a small pension an I can only go to the SUPERMARKET ONCE a month,I told this person that,he said to me,lady this is once in a life time deal you were picked to get the tv,well I said tell that company I'm poor an can't AFORD to pay the fee,he got really got upset I said you can't expect a poor person to pay for these things,he said this tv will make your life happier,o really I said people don't even want to be around me cause I'm poor,The phone went died,I know he is not calling me back,,by the way the GOVERMENT DOESN'T OR THE STATE CALLS ANYBODY AND SAYS YOU HAVE WON ANTHING,THOSE PEOPLE ARE CON ARTISTS THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT ANYONE THY DON'T HAVE TO SEE YOU,THEY JUST NEED TO CONVINCE YOU THAT YOU WON,SO YOU GIVE THEM MONEY,DON'T BELEAVE NOTHEN THEY SAY,THEY ARE AGAINST GODS WAY IN LIFE THAT IS HONESTY TRUTH AN LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS ONE DOES THERE OWN FAMLY,DON'T TRUST STRANGERS YOU DON'T KNOW,BLESS EVERYONE OUT THERE,I AM MY OWN FRIEND,I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO LOVES ME,PLEASE BE CAREFULL,ONE ADVICE,IF SOMEONE CALLS AN SAYS YOU WON SOMETHING,DON'T ANSWER BACK HANG UP QUITELY,

I RECEIVED FIFTY CALLS A DAY NON STOP THEY EVEN FILLED UP MY VOICEMAIL AND EVEN WHEN I TELL THEM STOP CALLING THEY DO IT ANYWAY I HATE THEM NEVER LOST ANY MONEY THOUGH IM NOT STUPID AT ALL I JUS CHANGED MY NUMBER

Just got a call.i got a 7000.00 grant and no pay back.gave me a 206 855 3282 and give confirmation number and I can pick up my money at wal greens or cvs or rite aid... haven't got anyone to answer my call yet,,,,, sure its a scammer also

Today I have been getting calls from a unknown number all day I answered it it was a forgin man telling me I was chosen to receive a government grant of 9,000.00 tthen directed to call this number. 202-657-6271 and give ref of gg4024. Yea right total scam.

Please

hi to do this cuz I've never ask money money from the government I'm so far and that and I need a little help and do I have to pay this money back

inportant info

I read most of these postings. Seems they are almost all posted by scam artists. You would think the FTC would clean this up as this is a gov website. Hate these trying to scam money from Americans.

I got sceemed out of 800.00 said I was gonna get 60,000 then was I couldn't get money unless I paid 5000 there number was 1323843842

Received call from India guy, said I could pick up money at Walmart. I told him don't bother,he said he will send me a cancellation letter, i said don't bother,he continued to ask me,am I cancelling,I told him don't send me *hit.

got a call from a foreign speaking person for a 9,000 dollar grant,all I had to do was go to walgreens and buy a green dot card for 195.00, and call him back to get a number and take to western union to get my CASH , don't think so, there number was 206-801-1924

Just received a call today from 202-657-6475, the man was speaking with a foreign accent and i could barely understand him. He promised a 6,000 dollar grant from the Federal Government. I gave him my account number but now realizing how foolish that was. He told me to contact his manager for further instructions, but when i called that number (another 202 number) i get a security companies' answering machine, what the heck? I hope these culprits are caught soon!

Received a call today from 206-855-3282 identifying as IRS; male with Indian accent. When pressed for details he said he was an IRS Officer contacting about owing back taxes.

I really need the help

Have receive info form a friend on facebook about my name on a list on for winning's of $30,000 form something from the govermet at phone #267/422-2130 the person has been replying back to me, I have been asking questions that they and I know have not been getting clear answers they are wanting $1000. sent first by Western Union to receive UPS payment.

Scammers will say they are from a government agency, and claim that you won a prize. Don’t pay any money for something you "won". Don’t wire money, because if you do, it's like sending cash. After you send it, it’s gone. You can’t trace it or get it back. Don't send a check or a money order, or put money on a prepaid debit card. Read more about  Prize scams.

As grown ups I would think that common sense would send you a red flag that when people who call you with very poor English offering Americans free money is definitely a scam, they only have p.o boxes because they know it can't be traced and be smart there are also many different phone apps to make up numbers. As it's hard for alot of people but don't be so desperate that you loose money that you don't even have in the first place. The old saying goes NOTHING IS FREE!!! Foreigners are getting rich off the poor for free and That's real!!

my call came today telling me I have been picked because of whatever... and if I send 299.00 they would send me a grant for 9299.00 in free money. I acted like I was a money gram and asked who to send it to. it took a while and two transfers to get the name Kelly Williams in India. she let me know that yes it was in India but it is cheaper to be rerouted through India for tax purposes. they then told me they would stay on hold until I completed the transaction. I then put the phone on mute and finished my day she stayed on hold for 45 min saying hello before she hung up. thought I should play with them for a while. what a shame SMH!

thank u for the help

Gee, what's described sounds like something from the Dept. of Human Services. You know, you submit all your expenses - your income and your actual costs of rent, electricity, gas, phone, etc. You know, REAL costs. Then they run it through their program and it spits out a figure that you're ALLOWED ON YOUR INCOME for all those things. It doesn't matter that it has nothing to do with reality; those things don't count. Then they tell you all you're allowed in food stamps because you're not supposed to have actual expenses higher than what is ALLOWED.
The only program that seems to work right is the heat assistance. Medicaid and food stamps don't because they don't raise the poverty level when the cost of living goes up. The biggest scam by far are the government assistance programs. They are a farce.

I'm 21 im on social security and they are starting to take all my income I receive away because they overpaid me of 4,508. Is there another way I can receive a monthly income

I got a call today from an unknown number, which really should have been a clue that it was not a good idea to pick up the phone. A man with an indian accent, whose name i can't remember told me that i was selected from the government to get $9200 because i had no criminal record, good credit, and paid my taxes on time. They already somehow knew my full name, and address. I confirmed those before i was smart enough to hang up. ; ( He wanted to give me some sort of confirmation number and asked me for my account information, which i DID NOT give, and promptly hung up on him. Im kind of creeped out to be honest. Can they do anything with just that information confirmed (name, address, and cell number)?

It's smart to hang up and refuse to share personal information. Scammers may get our names, addresses and phone numbers available online or through public records. They use that information to try and trick you into giving out valuable information like your bank account or credit card numbers, or even Social Security number.

If you think someone might have misused your Social Security number or financial information, go to identitytheft.gov for tips about what to do.

I just received a phone call saying the government was going to give me 8000 dollars to use any way I wanted to. I listened to what they had to say the told them I would need a letter of confirmation. they gave some numbers and a phone number. Then i told them I would give the information to my power of attorney. I knew it was a scam and cut them off. By the way I am 89 years old. So be careful of phone calls.

no way is the government giving me money I did not give them any information as they already had my name and address.

CALL FROM 124-556-4654 FOR $9200 MONEY FROM TREAS.
I TO CALL 646-460-6258 TO GET INSTRUCTIONS TO GET IT VIA WESTERN UNION. SO FAR NO ONE ASK FOR MONEY FROM ME.

I just received a call from the federal grant people and as I was reading over all ya'll posts I didn't see any simerlaritys at all. None of the numbers matched mine also wasn't asked to give money nor did they tell me how much I'd been approved for. But, I'm still very much worried that it's just not gonna be true. They've asked me to call back in 2 hours because of all the paperwork they needed to get in touch with my bank, but I also took precautions! I called my bank and told them sswhat I'd done and to be on the lookout for fraud. But so far it seems to be legit! Please say a quick prayer for me and my family cause we really need this money badly! ,, thx and I'll keep ya'll posted

You can learn more in this article about Government Grant Scams.

If you give someone your bank account number, even if they say they're going to give you money, you make it possible for them to take your money.

Grant scammers usually start by congratulating you. Then they  ask for your checking account number so they can “deposit your grant directly into your account,” or cover a one-time “processing fee.” They might say you can get a refund if you’re not satisfied. With these scam calls, you will never see the grant they promise. They will disappear with your money.

Don’t pay for a “free” government grant or give out your bank account or credit card numbers. If you have to pay to claim a “free,”it isn’t free.

guy named john called me asking for my bank details, joining fee was 250$ but before hand said it was free. scam assh...

Money u can use for things needed

Plus I'm Diabetic an arthritis in my knees an walk very so I need transportation

I got a message from someone saying he was an FBI agent with the Atlanta office and he had a check for me for $300000 and I needed to go to Walmart send 700 to this person and get my check via FedEx in 24 hours. Supposed to be for disabled retired or deaf people. I called the police.

I need money so bad I have no food my lights r off and I have no money to get nothing or to do nothing I have miss meals I need help bad

Go to usa.gov for information about how to apply for SNAP (which used to be called food stamps), and 'utility assistance' or 'energy assistance' programs in your state.

I was put in touch with a lawyer. He facebooked me. He had a list of what you could get according to how much money you wanted. All he wanted was address,name and the fee, example : $750.00 - $50,000, $1000.00 -$100,000 and so on. When I started to question he kept asking, how soon will I be sending the money ! No way how many questions I would ask, he would ask me the same. Even after finally me saying NO, he still tried persuading me with even more persistents. GUESS WHAT.. He had no foreign voice! He was American and from Maryland.

They are now calling from a blocked number. New call number of 518-643-4154 and the name Charlie Williams and a confirmation code of ST564 for a grant of $6700.

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