Another chapter in free grant fiction

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money in the shape of a present with a bowFree grants for regular people? The chance at some string-free money might seem like a godsend. But promises of free grants are just another scam to get your money.

That was the case with Cash Grant Institute, the FTC says. In fact, the man behind the scam — Paul Navestad — was ordered to pay more than $20 million. But he didn’t. So today the FTC announced that a federal judge has ordered Navestad to be jailed until he pays up. 

Here’s the backstory: Cash Grant Institute told people they’d already qualified for grants — up to $25,000 — that were readily available from federal, state, and local governments, private foundations, and wealthy individuals. But the grants didn’t exist, the FTC says. Instead, people were sent to sites that charged them for general information about getting grants. Even after paying, very few people qualified for any kind of grant, and those that did found it was a long, difficult process.

If that wasn’t enough, Cash Grant Institute also was a massive robocalling scheme, making more than 8 million robocalls — almost a third of them to numbers on the Do Not Call Registry.

In addition to the importance of filing a complaint about illegal robocalls, here’s what you need to know:

  • Don’t give out your bank account information to anyone you don’t know
  • Don’t pay any money for a “free” government grant
  • Know that scammers can fake phone numbers to look like they’re calling from Washington, D.C.

A real government agency won’t ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant you’ve already been awarded, or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions. The names of agencies and foundations that award grants are available for free at any public library or on the Internet. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is

If you think you've been a victim of a grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC at You also can report it to your state Attorney General. Read Government Grant Scams for more.

Tagged with: free, government, robocall, scam
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I was scammed for 700.00 how do I file a complaint.

You can file a consumer complaint with the FTC at

OMG!!! I just received a call from them as well. I'm like this is the best day ever because I don't usually have good luck.. But I sure did think the heavens were opening up for me. They had all my information and gave me the " your name came up in our system" spill. I did give an account # (how stupid ik) but I did follow up with my bank and let them know about these people claiming to be from the Government, I will be filing a complaint as well. WATCH OUT FOR PRIVATE or BLOCKED CALLS!!!! Also this number of a person claiming to be a senior account manager...253-843-6148

Like omg I was told the same thing to buy a green dot card and upload 500 this is completely out pocket they messing with people heads giving them false hope they should go to jail for that

I just received a call from a person who said that he is calling me, that was picked out of a 6 month survey from the Federal government. In the amount of 92,000 dollars. This is the information he asked me to write down: 315-675-4060 and the confirmation number and ask for a Peter Walker178. Then he asked for my bank account number. That's when I hung up. I am a homeless disabled 58 woman. I was hoping that prayers was answered.

I just recieved a phone call from a indian guy by private number saying i have received a 9000 dollar grant from the goverment. Mind you he knew my name. I then asked why have i recieved such generous donation from from the government. The guy stated because i did not have a criminal record. In fact which i dont hmmm but this was feeling suspect. He then says he will need my bank information credit card info lol to confirm who i am. At this point he is getting frustrated because i begin to blast him with serval questions regarding his phone call to me and this goverment none sense then he hangs up in my face. Watch out people these people are good i just got a new phone with a new number two weeks ago and they called me by name hmmm. Todays date 11/6/15

We just got called too with the same song and dance that my husband qualified for a grant from the federal government again because he had no criminal record. Which he doesn't but still this is the third call we've received today from these people whom I can barely understand as it is. Next time they call I'm getting out the whistle !!

I just got a call too. Claiming I got a 11000 government grant because I never filed for bankruptcy. Bs I was so excited till my four kids started laughing as the Indian lady asked for any plastic card I had card numbers. Lol it came from a DC number. Messed up

I just got a call as well stating a grant of$7800. They wanted me to go to Walmart or Dollar General, pay $250 to activate the grant.when I asked where they were they hung up. If anyone gets a call from 253-243-9660 just hang up. SCAM....

I just got the same call to go to Wal-Mart and purchase a card for 225.00 and gave me a code number and a phone number 202-930-3492 ask for Ryan Watkins ex# 201 and do not give it to no one onces I get there I'm to call and ask for him to verification that its me I will need my driver license and cash in hand and I will get my grant money its a scam there not going to get me. Lol

12/4/15 just got a call from the same india accent scammers let them run the gammit...first a woman calls, says says you are one of 1500 people to recieve $9600.00 because i have no criminal record and pay bills on time.. just can't spend the money they give you on gambling, smuggling, or drugs. Give you a confirm number ask you to call the finance manager who proceeds to ask if you want the $$ depsited at your bank or "cash" wired to a Walmart of your choice..(said Walmart to see what happens) and he explains I must first fill out some paperwork for the grant that i will receive "same day" at Walmart and funds were already waiting for me but I must also first send the $260.00 security deposit while he waits with me on the phone and then wires me the $9200.00. First:red flag:you don't get anything from the gov't for free..Second:to pay money to get money...hmm!!

Can u tell me the number because I got the same thing today saying that I had money waiting for me but had to pay 250 as well and wait on the phone with him

I just got a call today... they had most of my information. They said I will receive a free grant for 14,566.00. They called from a Washington DC number. They also wanted me to pay $250.00 as well and wait on the phone with him at wal-mart. You don't have to pay any fees for a free grant. The number they called from is 202-455-6947.

I just recieved a phone call like this and they said i didn't have to pay anything then they told me that i had to pay 400 dollars to recieve the money. The number came up as an unknown caller. His name was DR Richard J Johnson and he gave me a website to go to, to look and see if it was a scam or not and when i typed in the web address and his name it came up something about rats. I wish there was somewhere that i could get a grant and dont have to pay to recieve it.

Well they called me ....If Gov knowns this why haven't they put a stop to this .... Well I gave debt card number but not the real acct as soon as I said I don't have 225 $ they end the call smh GOV GO GET THEM ....sad

Same happened to my wife today. Indian accent. Free money grant. My wife refused to give him his info. He said to her that she wasted his time. Scam.

I got a call from the same guy today twice. When I told him the US Government would never wire me money and to destroy my file he thanked me for wasting his time. At least in that time he couldn't scam another person. Glad I wasted his time. Here are the numbers from where the call came 646-093-7723 & 646-193-7723

Well, it has happened to me as well, but not with a grant, but a new car and a big sum of money. Wow, they are good and harassing! Woowee! I fell hard for it thinking I finally received my motherload and can finally have financial serenity. Well, they don't stop. It is insane!

I just had a call to. Wanted me to buy a fever card Put 250 on it then let her know so she can call the bank and add the money on it. Don't know????

If you buy a gift card and put money on it, but you tell someone the code from the card, they can take all the value immediately. You will have nothing.

I just received several phone calls from an unknown caller. By call #5 I picked up because I am waiting to here back from a final interview. I should have known better. Legit organizations have legit numbers!!! lol Indian ancient but calling from the US department of disrespect. the amount of my grant $14,566.00!! Well...Latty Latty!!!! lol! I told them I would call them back and went straight to google!!! They will not be receiving a call back!!! Thank you just ha ha ha!!!! LL

Oh my that's the same amount and the guy says he is Portuguese American Alex Foster... He says I won $14,500 for not having a criminal record nor filing bankruptcy & oh my I had to pay a $250 registration fee. Then they told me to call another # #James" to make sure that they "guide" till I receive the money. Here are their #s 202-864-0179 & 202-634-2315

I received the same called,explained how I was selected & all for $14,566.00 Individual Grant.I was to go to Wal-Green having my pic ID,Cell,Visa Card & $200 which would be refunded.Gave me a confirmation #,their names David Morgan & George Tucker,phone #s,address & badge ID #,even though The address & phone #s were different.

Told me they worked with NIH.Website  grants.NIH. gov. One address is Maryland & the other from Washington D.C.After talking with David,I guess he saw that they weren't getting anything,I gets a call saying the IRS was filing a lawsuit against me.

Please report this to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Same thing JUST happened to me and i got excited and gave my bank acct number too. (Fool i am) ..They said i would definitely get the $ 8,300.00 because it is my money already registered to me, when i paid the $ 200.00 for taxes. Nko money in my account right now though thank God!! The number they gave me to call to confirm was 202 753-9768. Guess I'm gonna have to call my bank now.

Did anyone receive money? Here's the number that called me 813-577-0785. Here's the number they told me to call 360-702-5013

I received the same call today woman told me after she hangs up to call 3607025013 and talk to Charlie Evans to continue with my money code I found out it is a scam dont fall for it

(202) 930-1148. Just got the same call for $9200.00 grant for pickup @ Walmart.

I ask can I get it cash in hand from Walmart they said yes and gave me the number845979774646and code mp569 said I didn't have to pay nothing just take it to Walmart.

I just received same call from 202-455-0408

I had the same phone call a couple of hours ago. Told me the same thing and I would have to pay $250 to receive the money but it would be refunded when I received the $7000. So she said she would stay on phone during transaction at Walmart and I would walk out with $7250.00. oh and she assured me this was no SCAM! Yeah right. She also said there were only 1500 people to be receiving these grants. The number that I had to call and give my conf number was 646-504-3790.

I am glad I came across this post because I just got a phone call with the same type of accent giving me the exact same story. I never gave out any information, but I just wish I could report them. The fact that there are people that are out there doing this sort of crap makes me sick.

I just got called for the same but dumb of me have them my last 4 digits of social and driver license number what do I do??

If you're concerned that someone might misuse your information, you can read the information at

This information is for people who think some of their information was exposed.

what happened to your situation? same thing happened to me

I just now got that phone call from a Indian guy calling himself Randy Johnson. He told me he had 7,600.00 waiting for me and all I had to do was to go to the locations mentioned. That's when I decided to check them out and found you guys. Thank you for documenting your experience.

Just received the same call from gentleman with accent I couldn't quite understand. 14,500 in fed grant money not to be spent on gambling or any illegal activities. Didn't give him my last 4 digits of SS# and I filed a complaint with the FTC.
Scammer phone# 204-556-7459
Watch out everyone, NEVER give anyone your personal info!

Thank you for reporting this to the FTC. The information you give goes into a secure database that law enforcement agencies nationwide use for investigations. The information helps law enforcement track trends, tactics and locations of scammers.

I just received a call from a person with an Indian accent stating that I had been chosen to receive a grant from the federal government fo $9,800. The call was from an "unknown" number. He had my name (not my legal first name) and address and asked that I confirm that information. I was given an ID # and instructed to call 202-670-5097 as soon as I hung up the phone to claim my money. He also asked if I'd like the money sent to my bank account, my credit card or Western Union. When I didn't call after 5 minutes, I received another call from Ann "unknown" number which I did not answer. I had recently been online in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep and had purchased a sample product for $4.95 (won't do that again). Less than 10 days later a charge for $79.95 was pending in my checking account from the same company. I called to cancel the subscription within the cancellation period and was told I would need to return the product mmediately at my own expense and the return would need to be received within 10 days or I could pay $35 and keep the "free" sample with no further charges. I disputed the charge with my bank and cancelled my credit card. I don't know if the two incidents are connected or not but I won't be buying any more samples in the middle of the night!

I got phone like that and they asked me to pay 350$ In CVS to get grant from government about over 9000$ . His phone number was not registrar and he transfers me to his manager by 315-203-5312 to talk how can I get this money. They catches my information from Facebook I bileve because they said my last name as in Facebook! I am going to call the police and reported.

You can also report this to the FTC at

The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

My husband just got a 3rd call from an Indian woman who almost at times sounds Asian and same scenario go to Wal-Mart register, call me when you are there. I MEAN REALLY WALMART, OH COME ON THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT DISBURSE FEDERAL MONEY FROM A PUBLICLY TRADED RETAIL STORE EVER, PERIOD. That would violate so many laws and polices. These are some of the dumbest scammers I have ever came across

I just got this same exact call... From a private number and was then told to call 2064450744. I told him i didn't have a bank & he told me i could get my 9000 from Wal-Mart money gram. Then he says i only have to pay $250 in a security deposit for myself and he'll stay on the linetil until i received my money...but here's the thing... I have a criminal record smh... So i knew it was a scam. Everyone be careful... I was really excited at first thinking i could finally put my life back together... What a huge let down... Please don't no one get tricked by this... I'm happy i googled it to see what was really going on...

I just got a call from a George butler saying I was pick from 19,000 people saying I was getting 9,000 but I had to send money to some John denial 250.00 to process my application, they crazy if I'm going to give up money don't give anyone money it's a lie he didn't even know my middle name who asked me that information if u know who I am it makes no sense. ..

Ditto this I got the call today 8/3/16. Same guy same spill . I work for a major national call center so I recognized a scam at hello with a foreigner and a number invalid as 111-111-1111. Reported at my end ! Wow scamming the elderly.

I got a call like this yesterday and they told me I was going to recieve 6,700 and asked how I would like to recieve my money..i asked them.if this was a scam and they assured me it wasnt so I said ok send my check in the Ill wait to see what I get take it to the bank to see if its real or not! But Im almost positive I got scammed..I wasnt going to give them any bank information.. My call was from a 646-568-7279 number..anyone have any input on this? Lol

On God i just got that call from that number lol smh scam

I got a call from the same number 6465687279. Didnt want to personal info juudt have to pay 250 at westrn. Is this real

If you get a call from someone you do not know, and he tells you to send money, do not pay.  Some criminals call people and say they will get or a prize or a grant, but really the criminal wants your money.

If you get a legitimate grant from the government, you do not have to pay money.

I got a call several times for the past few days from a # in Milwaukee, WI 414-763-2762 was transferred to 2nd person, then given a grant approval ID# to give to grant manager. Phone @ 1800-454-1390 Brok Banner.

They said Im receiving a grant for $14,566 because a survey I submitted online. I have been taking surveys and I hv applied for a few different grants. The last was a hardship grant since I've been I between jobs. The asked to various my name and address and DL# and last 4 of social.. I have a freeze on my credit and hv canceled all bank and card accounts I had couple months ago because while on vacation my wallet was stolen.

I told them this info after they said I had 3 options in receiving the grant $. Which was bank account, prepaid Visa card, or reloadable visa. I hv a grant approval# as well. They assured me that there is no fee at all to receive the grant. And said to check online at website to vary who they are and to call bk when I hv chosen which way I would like them to make the deposite...

Just wondering if this is a scam.. The website he gave is  usagovernmentgrants             and address is 200 independence avenue sw health and human services building 2nd floor Washington,DC 20201.


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