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"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

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I received an email from Agora Financial claiming there is $ being given away on 04/04/18 as part of Pres. Trumps budget; $2.6 billion total. All I had to do to get info is pay $49. I looked AF up online. Scam, according to BBB.

They are?? Well...after the $49, in order to get the actual info you need to get the guaranteed return on your investment (that you tie up for only 3 to 4 days...wink wink) you have to pay them $3000.00 to be able to use their no fail system. But that's besides whatever money you want to invest...that's their fee to allow you access... So ya, if I had 15 to 20 thousand just lying in some bank account that I didn't need I might want to take this risk...... NOT!

I would like to pay all bills off and take my niece and nephew to Fla. and buy a car so we can go for 1 or 2 weeks so they can tell those kids when they have than that i took tham

Here's the Million Dollar question..... Why isn't our government doing anything about it??!! why is it so easy for these crooks to scam people, especially people who are in dire need, out of their last dollar and even borrowed money. Just look at the number of people responding... and this is only a fraction of the true number. My God, its fraud no matter how you look at it. If you went to a bank and told the teller, give me my grant of $9800.00, and demanded she give it to you....BAM that's a federal offense. What's the difference??

I'll tell you what the difference is, they would have to do some investigative work involving getting out and following leads, like in the old days. If they would just put in an effort and make some examples with a lot of media coverage it would stop some of them....not all but some.

Stop chasing pot smoking illegal buyers/sellers and the like and concentrate on these fools. This isn't a victimless crime.

Shout out and challenge: To all you web/computer/tech Geeks!

DO SOMETHING to get rid of all the internet scammers via email and social media. Invent an algorithm (lol...Not internet savvy...lol) or program or something to make the web a safer more legit space. Hey, employ some people to run backgrounds and data check everything before it hits the web. Anymore, every other page is a scam of some sort, full of Trojans and hacker cookies and malware. Such a shame that you cannot depend on such a great and information rich tool/system. We need to shut the whole dam thing down and reboot, learn from our mistakes....and by that I mean, our mistake of trusting that a fellow neighbor has morals and a conscious when it comes to using the web for fraud and FakeNews.... seriously...what am i saying, what an example the POTUS & Family is setting.

This Western Union flip for cash. I'm pretty certain is a scam. Just asked for me to send $135 for government stamp of approval. Bc I was honestly scammed just a week ago and sent pic of the transaction. They said could get my money back plus a lot extra, but I am very sceptical upon this. I'm usually rather smart,but I am also desperate for money lately. Could use some advice please!!

If you lost money to a scam, and then someone offers to get your money back, that could be another scam. Often, scammers work together, and share the names of people they will go after.

If someone says he will get you a lot of money, but you must pay him first, that's a sign of a scam.

My mom's friend passed along info to her regarding grants for personal use and urged my mom to contact a woman named Brenda at 202-852-2831 to fill out the paperwork for a grant. My mom inquired but a major red flag was that this person would only text, not call, and her grammar was very bad. They told my mom in order received a grant for $50,000 that she would need to pay $950 to have it delivered. Unfortunately, her friend did send the money and believes she has been blessed with a large sum of money. Sorry folks, this is a scam.

A friend that was my old boss ask me joint him on messenger so I did I ask him how he was doing since I have not hear from him in 5 years first thing he message me was did I hear about federal Govt giveing free grand money away and did not have to pay back since I am a senior that all he message me about even want me to text this lady to sign up for it that when I knew he was No friend of mine but someone trying to ,scam me in giving my,ID SS number bank but I never respond back to the person he wanted me to text to the WEB ADDRESS so don't trust anyone saying there your friend on facebook or messenger

I have had a call from D.C. non stop today. I am approved for a 14,800.00 loan free of charge. I am supposed to go to the dollar store and get a voucher for 300.00 and keep the man on the phone all the time so he knows I am the correct person collecting the money.. once I do yhat I will then have 14,800 on my card within 5 min. He gave me his ID number and he is not American his english is okay but his name is Travis Smith. Some of it adds up but there are big things that do not. I think that if the gov was going to send me money I would just open the mailbox and boom there is a check. Im in the system they wouldnt have to call me.....

I got a call just this week...they wanted me to get a 250.00 Google play card...they told me i was getting back 14,800 ...the 250 was registration fee to receive the grant money...then it turned into I had to 999.00 up front to get money. That money was filing a 800 form with irs..they seemed impatient and moody when I wasn't cooperating. They gave me an address and a call back number.2201 in wood rd Dallas Texas 75390..I spoke with a Ben Morgan..who connected me to a jason Sanchez. After they receive the 800 ga tax form ...I then was suppose to get 15,815..supposedly to refund money spent to receive grant...wth?? Careful guys...I just wanted to add this to thread so it may help someone

I encountered this past Friday a woman called me and said I was qualified for "free" money and she told me to pay a four dollars fee and 4,000 would be deposit into my banking account within 48 hours. I knew it sounded too good to be true.

Guys if you see this number 1-818-333-1889 your iD be Wary. The location is in Burbank California.

I need for my Grant money

I just got a call from a New York # 212-777-6976 said if I give them a credit or Debit card number they would deposit my government grant money of $5700.00

A (718) number had called my brother and after 5 mins of hearing my brother talk I knew it was a scam so I asked to let me talk to the person on the phone my brother said no another min or two went by and my brother got tired of me bugging him so he gave me the phone and I asked him so how much money are you making off of this this is a scam in it and he replied no no no well I kept saying it was a scam and he told me after a while why don't you just hang up so I don't you just hang up

They called me from a 315 area code claiming to be a government grant apartment and that I needed to register a card in order to get a 9000 transferred from the Federal Reserve Bank they gave me a grant ID confirmation code and gave me a number to call 315-288-3833 a lady named Anna price extension 32 claimed everything was legit and their job is on the line if everything didn't go through as she explained. The registration fee of 200 was refundable and the 9000 would be available moments after I gave them a confirmation code verifying funds were released and trackable with a ID number they would provide once receiving a code from my receipt for the registration card which turned out to be a Google play card, what's up with that the authorized Western Union or MoneyGram location.

Beware of Shelly Vega Hanceville Alabama AKA Teresa Shawan on Federal Grants 951-267-6437.

I got a message from a friend today that said he got a check worth $50,000 via UPS from the government. He said I should try. He sent me the link. I went ahead and sent a message. She wanted to know my full name. I told her. She then said that my name was on the list of winners. She then asked for some other information. After that she said that I would have to follow the directions specifically. I would have to be available for UPS to drop of the check. She then stated that I would have to pay a fee for this and a fee for that. I sent back a message asking how much would I have to pay. I just got a response that I would need to pay $850.00 up front before it could be processed. I said no, thank you. I just sent a message to my friends wife to see if it was in fact her husband that just collected a $50,000 check. Haven't heard back yet, but I have a feeling he didn't and somehow they used his name/face to send me the request to connect with him. Huge scam! Don't fall for it. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

This same scam is ongoing today. I received a call asking for $250 to get a grant for $7000. The representative was very upset with me because i told her to deduct her fee from the $7000 and send me the rest.

These people are playing on the emotions of individuals that are unemployed or are on a fixed income. They should be locked up.

less than 20 minutes ago I received a phone call they were claiming I got a $9,000 free government grant paperless Trail that I was not call nobody or tell nobody and pay a $200 fee for this grant Federal grant Lobster Irene Morgan at phone number 360-214-3597 extension 205 and tell me I have to pay a $200 fee at Walmart to get my money I obviously know that this is a scam but I just want more people be aware of the situation
z

Ive been contacted by con artist offering me $9,000 from federal goverment grant for free.

The number the are calling me from cones from this line: 775-781-9875.

From a person with a complete harsh accent and clearly bad sales people!

I need some money

I was told my a friend on fb to like and then friend arthur robinson. I can send money by western union and I would get money immediately
My friend said she got cash via federal Express. I was always questioning this

Today I got a call from a person who is Nigerian asking me to hurry go to the store and get your western union from the grants department. I called the store I was to get it Done yet. The transaction numbers were fraudulent and I could have gone to jail. Thank goodness I did not. Anyways this was most definitely a scam. Don’t send no money ever . If you do you’ll get scammed and possibly go to jail.

so i was approached about having money deposited into my account and then whatever they send, i send half back through wal-mart. government funds, they say. they wanted my online user name and password to make sure i qualified, yeah right. if your giving it to me, then take your half out and then send me mine. why so many changes, cause its a scam i'm sure!!! no thanks

Got call today said I was getting 92,000 asked him what part of government branch was his office under he could not give it to me just kept repeating dhs. I asked for the branch office he worked under he kept on saying about I could use money for what ever I wanted. I told him I wanted to know what branch of the government he worked under that authorized this type of funding he got very upset with me. I told him I one time worked in the leagle field and wanted to check on this. He said I never worked I was a lazy girl.. I have worked since I was 14 up til I was 53 years old the sob had no reason to talk to someone that is old enough to be his mother.

Looking forward

Curious i want to know how to get money back from the peraon that says he works for the federal government call me from 517-305-1467 asking for moneies for delivery, insurance hospital bills fir an accident of the fed ex delivery person, board of directors fees Etc u name it there is a fee for every thing he could come up with still calling my phone and texting me I just want my monry back i send guite abit of money he even showed me a picture of a box of money with lots of hundreds in it

Just received a msg from 754 207 4090 saying :
For Being a Loyal Wal-Mart customer O , We sent u 1000USD no-cost Shopping card. Claim Now at wal9 dot us slash adrm slash Stop2Unsub
I didn't write the url as I received it to avoid some clicking it, take care

This lady is a government online claiming agent giving away free government money $100,000. Shipping and handling fee is $1700.00. Her name is Luz Belinda, from San Jose, CA

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