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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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Yes I did the exact same thing I gave him my credit card number but luckily i only had 10$ on it so only thing they was able to take was 10$ and I heard him say he have my SSN which I believe was a lie I closed my credit card afterwards but when he said he had my SSN I didn't think of it ,it was before I gave my credit card number out but he didn't provide any proof he had it

I have received 4 calls from an unknown number today I finally answered. I am in AR. They have my birth date address and name on hand.

Sam, The number on my phone showed up 777-777-7777. The woman state that I had won free grant money and that they could put it in my account or I could get it through Western Union. Obviously I said I would not give out any personal information so she just confirmed my zip code and last name, then gave me a phone number to call with a reference number. Waiting to discuss with my husband before I even call the number.

This sounds exactly like what happened to me this morning… Did you ever find anything out about it?

I received a call as well saying the same thing. That I've been apporved for a grant for $9000 and if I want to receive it through my acct or western union. I told them that I didn't have the registration fee right now. But there was a little voice in the back of my head that said that it was too good to be true so I googled it and was brought to this site I'm glad I did because I work too hard to just give away my hard earned money.

How did you get it I been in my apartment about three or eight months. I need something in my apartment my is off and the other one to I they gong to call I wish they can mail something for me to apply

Today i received a call representing u.s. fed gov human health services asking for $250.00 in order to receive $8000.00 to be issued by new york fed 202-738-1577 ask for amber white she said was her name....

Hi everybody, so I almost got fooled too just today which I believed is a total scam I received a grant money worth $8k I was surprise and happy because I just gave birth and edd was not enough. Anyway they said they'd processed my claim but have to pay $290 through Walmart or western union. But before I heard that I already gave my account number (like oh no wrong move) I told them that no way gov will ask for money that is granted for you. They kept on claiming it's not a scam the lady senior head I guess name sally Connor ( huh the name doesn't make sense with her Indian accent) it is a scam oh no they got my bank account what shall I do?

Contact your bank and explain what happened. And remember: don't give out your account numbers to someone you don't know.

Grant scammers will lie about where they’re calling from, or claim a name that sound legitimate like “Federal Grants Administration.” They may ask you some basic questions to determine if you “qualify” to receive a grant. In fact, you’ll never see the grant they promise. They will disappear with your money.

Today I received a call from an Indian speaking woman who told me I received 9000 from the Department of Education. When I asked what for she said for filing your income taxes on time. She was very hard to understand so I told her since she was from the feds she had all my information and to send me a letter confirming this. I then hung up. I knew it couldn't be legit.

GiGi I just got the phone call with the same Indian woman saying shr had a $9,000 grant from the government for filing my taxes and pay my bills on time I know it was a joke when she said filing my taxes on time. after she said my first name and my last name I gave her the number to a non activated card that credit card companies send you when they trying to get you to sign up with them. She didn't gave me an ID number in a call back number

I got a smiling phone call a few weeks ago from a foreign sounding man reading script. I let him run through his script saying I was selected for a $7,000 federal grant..blah once in a.lie time opportunity, blah, blah you can accept the money by creditcard, checking account or money gram. I knew it was a scam in the beginning of the script and confirmed after the person mentioned the moneygram. I had signed up to use money gram to send a friend some cash two days prior to this call. I believe they got cell phone number from the moneygram application at walmart. Be careful. You don't get something for nothing!

I got two calles today saying the same thing that i would get 9,200 and gave me three ways to get it but first ivhad to get a 250 i tune or amzon gift card first and then they would release the funds andvif i got the gift cards the would pay me the 250 back wih the 9,200. O got two calls and they both had different confirmation number how c a n o report them i was told to call back friday before 6 pm and i would have the funds 30 mins later

Thank you for sharing your experience. For more information, please see the related blog post, Scammers push people to pay with iTunes gift cards. You can report scams to the FTC at

Same here,,,, today i recieved a call for me to send $217 in oder for me to get an amazen grant that i will never have to pay back, $7000 ,,,,im a struggling single mother which of course sounds amazen to recieve that amount,,, i told her i dont have that kind of $,, quickly her voice was not so nice,,,, lol

The same thing happened to me. They promised 7000 in gift cards. A voice line answered and I was put on hold. The guy answered. I asked how they get my information they said through select stores. So I asked what stores. Then he said he would need my account # I asked why Hey said so you can get your money on the account. I told him I don't trust that and he became very hostile and said "well you use your credit card to buy things online so what the difference, I don't understand" so I hung up and never been called again.People like this are greedy for money

hi my name is Tasha and the same thing happening to me from the same number something told me to go look on the website to see if I see any information on this they wanted me to take 200 and $50 to Western Union and the lady name was Amber Johnson from the same exact number I knew God had answer my prayers when they called but he still answer them because he showed me that all of this was fake because I would have been out two hundred and $50

This happened to me today. I'm so dumb I was excited since I'm in need of money right now so I kept asking is this true. So I sent off money to receive money. I finally thought to look up everything and it's all pointing to scam. I got very lucky because they didn't pick up the money gram just yet and I cancelled the transfer and reported it.

the same thing just happened to me

They called me today is this true or false cause I'm going to the irs tom to confirm this

I just received a call from a man with an very heavy accent claiming I was one of 17000 people from across the country who was selected to receive a Federal Government Grant of $9000. He was very hard to understand and when I asked him to repeat himself or asked questions about the grant, he became irritated and yelled "OMG just call the number and give them the code I am giving you!"
The number I am supposed to call is 206-317-1315 which I am not going to call because I know this is scam. I checked out the number and it is coming from Bainbridge Island, WA are outside of Seattle. Just putting this out there so other people are aware and don't get scammed.

I received the same call but was to call 206-201-2796 I called put was hung up on when I told them you don't pay us government a processing fee. BEWARE

I just received a call telling me the exact same thing. She sounds like an asian woman but really talks good telling me that out of 17000 people I was the one of the people they chose the get $7000. And asking me how would I want to receive it.. By Western Union or by Bank Card.. Asking how far are we to a Western Union branch from our place.

This is insane. Happened to me today!!!

I got a call from new york supposively with th guy saying my name i was in they told me that i won $7,000
Because i didnt have brankruptcy and criminal record.. an the guy his name austin mackenzie told me i could receive the money through western union credit card or moneygram from walmart an i told him i woud collect it through western union so then he gave me a code an the phone# im suppose to call to confirm the code to be released the money an then i called and then a lady answered an i told her the confirmation code an she repeated to me everything austin did EXCEPT how i wanted to receive the money an she said through moneygram an i told her no from western union an she was like its better if you go to moneygram in walmart an then i said ok its closer an then she said i have to pay $250 processing fee an that i was goin to get it back included with the grant Money which in total its 7,250 an This has never happened to me before i found it weird an then the lady was like make sure you go before 7 because Thats when moneygram closes an i was like ok ill send you the money in an hour an she giggled an told me ill be expecting ur call an ill be standing by when you send the $250 processing Fee an i said ok thank you bye an right when i hung up i came here because i was confused if its real or fake but now i see its fake thank god i found this website if not i would of gave them my hard earned money OMG Well at least i know now and block the
call from this guy BLOCKTHIS NUMBER 3473495248 AND ALSO THIS ONE 3157504711

Lol, I just received a blocked call today from these loosers, but Im way ahead of they're week game, I was illegal eary when they called me for the first time about a month ago, I said theres something strange about this? They called in the evening from a gmail number, so I said thats odd and they said I won $9,700 because I paid my taxes and bills on time, lol,well that wasn't true , first red flag, then the man had a European accent and told me I needed to register to the some bank and pay $250 for a debit card at cvs first and they'll send my winnings! I automatically knew this is just bogus! So I called the actual federal government the next day and they reassured me, indeed these people are scammers, so I couldn't wait for them to call back so I could have the pleasure of telling them very gently and quietly to get lost!.

I received the same type of phone call claiming I was the recipient of a $9K once in a lifetime grant based off of the ARRA and criteria of eligibility I met. When I questioned what they needed from me in order to access said money, they stated I needed to provide nothing and only state if I would pick up the monies from a MoneyGram or Walmart but that instructions would be provided to me by calling 202-649-0253 with the confirmation# NA904.
I work for government and am well aware there is no provision in the ARRA for such a grant. Furthermore, this is not likely with all of the administrative and policy changes. The caller carried a heavy accent (while they could still be American, they didn't seem versed or official at all. They seemed like a cold caller/telemarketer)

Don't fall for the hype. If it seems too good to be true, then it is and DO LOOK THINGS UP!

Be safe all from these predators!

I got the same call and keen it was a scam because I have applied for grants many time. So when they asked for a card number I made one up and he told me to wait a moment to check it. Boy was he upset when he said that the card wasn't real and I told him neither was his grant he started swearing at me and hung up. I had put him on speaker and me and the wife had a great laugh

Just received a call that I am qualified to get a grant for $9,200. All I need to do is go to a Walmart or Walgreens and get a Green Dot card or something for $330.00. Also said I was not to relate some type of info when I purchased it. When get out to the parking lot of the store I buy the card or cash, call the 303 number that they gave me. Of course I'm not. I don't have $330.00 to lose.

person with an Indian accent called saying I won a grant of $9000 from the US government. When I asked what the grant was for he would not answer and just gave me an approval ID and phone number to call. I called the number, and spoke with an Indian woman. She told me I was selected from my area to recieve a grant for paying my taxes on time. They supposedly cant send a check because people complaine about the checks taking too long. So I was told to buy a green dot voucher from Walgreens or CVS for $5. But since I was getting so much I needed to upgrade the voucher by long loading $330 on it and then sending it to this supposed Government agency. I told the woman I was not paying anything for a supposed grant and would require something official in writing from the government. She responded OK very quickly and said goodbye.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It's a good thing you didn't send any money. This is a scam. The IRS does not give grants for paying your taxes on time. Get more times on spotting a government grant scam in this article.

I keep getting the same call about once a week.

I just got this call today.. Sounded fishy and I told them if they worked for the gov the. They should have my info!

I said the same thing to the call I received yesterday. I knew off the bat it was a scam but I was fishing for what other bs the caller with the strong middle eastern accent was trying to concoct on the spot!

I don't know how but they have my imformation, where I life and everything so I don't know how??? I sheeter all my bill paper intomation and I got a called by an Indian woman,one is "rose Milton" and the other is "Ema green" those are the lamesest mane I ever heard. I was about to fall with this people but when they ask me to do a money order, I felt like a was being fool.they got very intimidated when I ask for more credibility because the government don't give money like that . expect when you apply for a grand that I saw on Facebook, and I'm not 100% sure if the advertisement is truth.

A scammer might say you got a grant, but then ask for your checking account information so they can “deposit your grant directly into your account,” or cover a “processing fee.” But a scammer won't give you money, he will take money from your account because you gave them the number.

Don’t give out your bank account information to anyone you don’t know.

Don’t pay any money for a “free” government grant. If you have to pay money to get a “free” grant, it is not free. A real government agency won’t charge you a fee for a grant that you really got. And a real government agency won't tell you to pay to get a list of grant-making institutions.

If you want to apply for a legitimate federal grant, go to

I just got a call from them. Lying about me receiving $7000 but to get it I must pay $250. They called my cell but they verified my daughter's name. When I told him I wasn't who they were looking for he said I can receive it too..... I thought he told me that I(she) had been selected?

Peoples names last known addresses and sometimes even phone numbers are accessible by simply googling there name. Try it sometime. You can find anyone

Rose Milton? The lady I spoke with introduced herself as Mary Jones. Told me the same won a grant speech. Verified my info then told me send 212.00 via cvs moneygram. Then she said remember my name is Rose Milton...oh I mean Mary uh...Jones. Mary Jones ext. 101. I reported them to the FTC.

I just got a phone call saying I was chosen to receive a $9000 grant that does not have to be paid back. They had my name and address...he (foreign) gave me a claim number and a phone number. Of course I am not going to call!

I just received the same call telling me to call 360 967-4329. The guy with an Indian accent stated that this was the treasury department of health and human services. I think he became suspicious of me because I kept asking alot of questions. He told me my code wasn't valid and hung

I just have a cal from Lex Hunter/Lex Luthor. LOL I have to go to Western Union and give him $210 dollars so he can give me $8,000K and please call him from the parking lot so I can give him $210 for calling me from the goverment LOL

so now the goverment needs $210 dollars from me LOL please don't send your money to these clowns they don't even speak English correctly.

They said: Go and call me from parking lot. who is this Tonto from the Lone Ranger LOL you have to be drunk to not known this people ara a joke scammers

I just got the same thing i was told to go to walmart and send 230 dollers and i would get my money shorty after she got it its all fake and the should not be able to do this to people

The same thing just happened to me for the same amount but they wanted $200 I told them I wouldn't be able to get it and they we're like well when can you have i. They also said that I could get it western unione. Why do that need money if it's free government money?

Same thing happened to me, Indian accent person said my name and phone number was picked to get 9,000 dollars because I didn't have any criminal records, I was first talking to this guy hahaha god, he got so confused, he did not know how to answer my questions correctly. So he gave the phone to another Indian accent speaker, he told me they worked for the Government and I asked who was the person in charge for all of this, he continuously said they worked for the Government each time I asked him who was the person in charge. Anywaaay they said I did not have any criminal records which I do, they said my name was Edgar which it's not. Scammers man gotta watch out, Ladies and Gentlemen please do not give out money to anyone saying you won any kind of gift. This is August 17, 2015 and phone calls like this are still happening. By the way I am 15 years old and I know how to defend my self from these scammers. I'm not sure where they got the name Edgar from because I do put false names in websites.

I was called in the afternoon saying that I had A 9000 dollar grant And they told me to go to wal-mart and get A 250 dollar green card and call them back and they will send me the money

Did you get the money or did you have to pay someone

Caller from 202-562-7893 called and said I could get $9000 grant for free, no taxes paid. Please help find people like this and put them in jail!

Actually they gave me a call a few minutes ago all they asked was my age plus they already knew my name and then gave me information in how to receive it by pin and a phone number to call back.

I just received a call from them as well saying you have been selected and we have a grant here of 9000 for you. She proceeded to ask me for 250 dollars I said if I'm getting 9000 dollars take it out of that. I'm not sending you 250 you crazy I said you will not scam me. I have a 9000 grant but I gotta pay you... haha yeah Im not crazy!!!


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