You are here

Another chapter in free grant fiction

Share this page

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
Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money


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.

Eric Dickinson,347-252-3827. Promised $180,000! Would have to pay LOTS of $$$. Said he was from Advantage Grants. British accent

I got a call from Eric Dickinson today February 27, 2018. I didn't give any personal numbers and he called to confirm I was approved. Yikes! Glad I saw this first before I got fleeced!!

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

Wow,i was almost a victim of the same exact scam. The man I spoke with said I was randomly selected to receive up to $9000 in free grant money, and that all I had to do was go to walmart,purchase a registry card,load $200 on to it, and that I would be refunded the $200 + $9000 in cash. So I decided to contact customer service at walmart to see if they had ever heard of this registry card that I am to be purchasing in order to get the grant money, she said "no, it's a scam. I thank God for keeping me from making that mistake.

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.

The federal government will not give you a grant because you filled out a survey.

It's risky to give out your Social Security number online, especially when you don't know who you're dealing with. When you give out your name + address + Social Security number, you make it easier for someone to use that information for identity theft.

If you tell someone your bank or credit card account number so they can 'deposit' money, they could take your money instead.

The address the caller gave you is the address for a government building, but the website he gave you is not a government website; it's a commercial website. A person who really works for the federal government will have an email address that ends in '.gov' and their website will end in '.gov' too. Read more about people who impersonate the government.

If you need help paying for food or housing,  contact your city, county or state government. Some utility companies give financial assistance. Your doctor or pharmacist should know about programs that help people pay for medicine


Baby......I just got the same call...just curious did they ever send you the check?

Was his name Derek Wilson

I got the same call by a Indian guy about the 9000 dollars but they are not asking for my account info just to do it of money gram what do you think ?

The federal government is not giving away thousands of dollars in grants to people who pay their taxes on time, have no criminal records, never declared bankruptcy or were ‘selected in a demographic survey.’ Anyone who claims you’ll get ‘free money’ for those reasons is trying to scam you.

After the scammer promises you a grant, he'll ask you to pay a transfer fee or application fee, or give him your bank account number, or send a check before he sends the ‘grant.’ Save yourself time and money. Don’t respond.

I receive that called December 22nd 2015 Indian speaking guy Named ZackTold me that I qualify for $9,200 He then began to ask about account information Red flag ....immediately I said to him that makes no sense The government would never Access account information if
they were going to give you something He then said if you don't trust me go and get a prepaid card Put only
$3.87 on itThe $3.87 will go towards my application fee
And within 2 days I should receive the money on the
card. I will definitely see Because I will put the $3.87 on
the card I just would like to see what's going to happew. hat do I have to lose you know Keep everyone posted

Hey i just got a call from an indian said put 3.87 on a card any card that pays for registration fee an he will send a link to my email thats gives me all information about the grant an how i wa na recive the money. I told him to call in an hour i would go buy a debit card an put 3.87 on it . have u had news yet bout urs cus i got 4 kids having a hard time finding a job to take care of them i aint got time for bull crap with these scammers

cant believe they are still doing this! Word for word of what you just said they did to me.

Apparently this is still going on. Today I received a call offering me $9,200. I asked for it in the writing in the mail and they hung up.

Did you find anything out? I got the same call today

I got the same call but the Indian accent lady didn't ask for my bank account just gave me a number then go to money gram to claim my $7000

just got a call from 1(000)000-0000 Indian voice, telling me I have been selected to receive a 9,000.00 grant from the Federal Reserve Bank because I have not claimed bankruptcy. then gave me this phone # to call rite away 202-750-0702. I did not call, but found this site. and making my comment. Since they have called 4 more times and possibly 3 more times from other #'s and then hang up after 4-5 rings.

I received a call today saying I was selected by the government to receive $9,000. I was given 3 options to receive the money and I choose western union, but now I'm being asked for my address, I hung up right away. How can the government be following me and they know I'm a good citizen, yet they don't know my address. I wasn't falling for this nonsense. They keep calling from a blocked number

Got basically the same call today 03/15/16. $9000 grant because I had no criminal record and recently went on disability due to injury. (both true) He was smart and didn't ask for anything that would through up a red flag, but still way to good to be true. Please everyone keep in mind, NO ONE EVER GIVES ANYTHING AWAY FOR FREE. Be safe everyone.

I also got almost the exact same call. 206 area code. Govt grant for $9,700 based on no criminal background and always doing taxes on time. One of 20,000 ppl. Only have to pay $250 on a reg. Card from local grocery srore and send via western union and will recieve cash in 5-6 min. Give me a break!! Pay $ to receive $? Clearly a scam. I also had just received my new telephone # 5 days ago and he knew my name. He was the "senior acct. Manager" with Indian accent based out of Washington D.C. According to telephone # reverse look up.

I got the exact same call and I didn't tell him any bank information but I did think it was real so when they asked if my name was so and so I said yes and they asked for they had the correct address I said yes and then they gave me a money approval number and bank number with the same $9000 grant, I now know it was scam but I'm worried since they know my address

Has anything happened to you? I received the same Call. And for the account # and money approval#. I didn't give them any infomation.

I just got a phone call today about the same exact amount and reason why they called, they said that i have been randomly selected and that i had no criminal records and i paid bills on time.... im like i only have a phone bill and they knew my address, im like how? i barely get mail here and my name isnt even on the lease. he told me that i had to pay for a card for 250 out my pocket to actiate it,, im like uhh no. but i am soo gullible so i was curious.

Yep -- they are still at it. I just got a call -- FROM AN INDIAN GENTLEMAN! And I could hear lots of other people in the background!! This is a bog operation. Can't the gvt. close them down?

I just had this done 2 me AGAIN! A supposed once in a lifetime chance of being chosen for a $9,000 grant.Indian accent. Spoke 2 'carrie' at first and was 2 call # given immediately after hanging up so I did I knee it was a scam from the first time& the # didnt exist. Ten minutes later she called back askin if i called i told her it didnt exist she was like oh if its not working call 2026887306 as i did and spoke with 'Cindy Smith'(funny thing they have american names huh)and she told me like b4 2 get a $250 itunes card 2b registered in bank of new yorks system. I told her it didnt make sense 2 pay $ 2 get $ and she got a bit of a attitude& said mam let me remind u that this call is bein recorded by the federal government& i said yes and im expressing my concern to u that i dont understand&how it seems like a scam she assured me it wad 110%legit & not 2 worry.I have just moved into my new residence& they had all my info& went over it to make sure it was correct& then asked if i was a mother as they heard my newborn baby boy cry in the background&asked how i wld spend the $ and all the rest everyone has said. I still expressed my concern as she said $ wld be in my account within 15 min as i did give her a prepaid debit card # with no $ on it i just recieved she said call her at store 2go ASAP i told het i was really sczred 2 that was alot of $ and im unemployed with a newborn she said no worries ill b there 4u u just go& take care of that baby they were the government& no need 2 worry. I googled this again 2c if it was still goin on& called back 2 tell them they needed 2 leave us alone& stop there scam&i just reported them. They called once more from a third #. 2026887306, 2024754896 was the 1st #. The # 2 call that didnt exist was 2025160912. Watch out guys they dont care who u are or if they take everything even from a newborn baby!!

Just received the exact same call because I "pay all my taxes on time and have never gone bankrupt." I used my children as an excuse to get off the phone with him so I could look this up. I do want to know how they got hold of my name and number.

Today 6/2/16 i got a personal long term grant of $7000.. Which i neva have to pay bk,,, tq to our govt....

Did you really recive the $7000 grant?

No cause he would havevthe right date its only april 2016 he pit 6 2016

Did you go through Indian guy who wanted you to pay 290.00 for trans fer.fee then pick your grant up at walmart. Did he want to stay on the ph with you was the call from Indian guy named rick cooper at 206 7450822

I just received call saying I am 1 out of 1500 people picked for government grant of $9700 for "being a good girl so to speak" I need to go to CVS or walgreens to load $250 on gift card but I must call Ron Walker 00 at 716-795-0239 and he will tell me which gift card to load $250 on and take with me then go to money gram and and then show money gram my I'd to collect grant . Is this a scam or what ???????

This sounds like a scam.

The federal government is not giving away thousands of dollars in grants to people who pay their taxes on time, have no criminal records, never declared bankruptcy or were ‘selected in a survey.’ Anyone who claims you’ll get ‘free money’ for those reasons is trying to scam you.

If you didn’t apply for a federal grant, the government will not call and offer you one.

Don't send money to someone who says you won a government grant.


Got a call from a very nice lady, no accent. Asked me questions re income, age, etc. She said Fortune 500 companies were going grants from $20,000 to $70,000 and asked what I would do with it. I said if I had $20,000 I would pay my bills. She said I qualified, I would have to have a telephone conference once a week to make sure I used the money for bills. When she asked from a credit card number so she could call my credit card to confirm that I paid my bills I asked for something in the mail or with an address and company name. She said this was just done over the telephone. So I hung up. Sounded too good to be true but she was good Said she'd been with company 3 years and they were reliable. I'm still thinking about the money I don't have. It was a 619 number

It's good that you didn't give your credit card number away. If you get a call out of the blue and someone wants you to pay money to get money, it's probably a scam.

I've just had a call from someone saying that I just won a grant from the government but didn't ask for a Bank information or anything. But wants me to get a card and put 250 dollars on it. Then let her know and go to a bank. Then the bank will put the money on it. What do I do.

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 from the card. You will have nothing.

They might say you won something, but the government doesn't call people and give out grants. That's a lie. Anyone who calls you and says you won a government grant is lying. They're trying to scam you. Even if they say they're going to put money on a card, they aren't. They're trying to trick you into telling them the number on the card so they can get your money.

Ignore them and don't call back.

Got the same... 7000... And pay for a $210 registration card haha the nerve of some people!!

It's funny they said 250 for me and I'll get 7,250 back in cash lol


Leave a Comment