Grant Scam & Fraud Alerts
Don't Get Fooled by Grant Scams
Stay informed about fraudulent activity related to federal grants.
Fraud Alert from the HHS OIG
February 24, 2023 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG) is alerting the public to a fraud scheme that uses social media and fake websites to steal money from individuals by offering fake HHS grants.
The scheme involves scammers pretending to offer you grants from HHS and asking for payment or personal information to receive the fake grants. Scammers may use various social media platforms and chat applications to contact you and direct you to fake websites, online chats, chat boxes, or live customer support in order to lure you into providing your personal or financial information. These scammers may pretend to be a “friend” or someone from HHS. Although the precise message may vary, the scammer provides fake HHS employee information or a link to a fake HHS website, tells you that you will receive free Government grant money, and then asks you for money or personal information.
Do not pay scammers. HHS will never ask you to pay money to receive a grant. Scammers may ask you to send gift cards or money to cover processing and/or delivery fees. Do not respond to, pay, or share any financial information with anyone contacting you via social media, email, or otherwise offering free HHS grants or money.
Do not share your personal information. HHS will not message you through social media to begin a grant application. Scammers may offer fake HHS grant money in exchange for personal or financial information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, address, bank account number, login information, or copies of your personal identification.
Do not be fooled by spoof websites. HHS websites always use a .gov domain. HHS does not use .org, .com, or .us domains.
Report grant scams. Never respond to any schemes that try to get you to pay money or give your personal information for an HHS grant. If you receive such a call or message, submit a hotline complaint or call 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477; TTY 1-800-377-4950).
Scam Alert from the Federal Service Desk
June 3, 2015 - The Federal Service Desk (FSD) has recently been receiving claims from the public that CFDA agents have contacted them claiming that in order for the recipient to claim federal grant money they must first send the CFDA agent personal information or money.
Although the CFDA agent claims to be with the Community for Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) or a similarly named organization, and not the federally-run Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), they do represent themselves as agents of CFDA.
CFDA does not use social media or direct phone contact to solicit, review, or make awards.
If you hear of anyone being contacted in this way, please advise them to pass all information to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (www.ic3.gov) and their local law enforcement authorities.
Scam Alert from the Better Business Bureau
May 22, 2014 - Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is warning the public about grant scams. Recently BBB received a report from a consumer who stated they were contacted by The Washington D.C. Grant Department about being approved for a $7,000 grant. Contacts like this are not uncommon and such notices are usually accompanied by requests to pay processing fees. BBB reminds people that federal grants are not issued for personal use, but are intended for institutions and non-profits to carry out projects with a public purpose.
"This is a scam that regrettably never goes out of vogue," said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. "And the people who carry it out are good at what they do; they know what to say and how to say it, which is why everyone needs to be careful."
Usually these grant "notifications" come via the phone, but people may also receive them through mail and email. These notices usually claim to be from the Federal Grants Administration or some other phony - though official-sounding - agency. Individuals who receive them are told they're either eligible for or have been awarded a government grant.
Read about the latest scam alerts from BBB: https://www.bbb.org/us/news/scams
Scam Alert from the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR)
February 5, 2014 - The Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) received inquiries and complaints from persons targeted by a fraudulent grants scheme.
According to reports, the scam artist claims to represent the COFAR when contacting the individual. Victims are told they have been selected to receive a government grant ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. In order to receive the grant money, the representative explains a "processing fee" ranging between $150 and $700 must be paid and asks individuals for bank account information.
The COFAR is not a grant making organization and has been disbanded. The COFAR will never request banking information, social security numbers or other personally identifiable information to facilitate the issuance of a "grant". Grants are not benefits or entitlements. A federal grant is an award of financial assistance from a federal agency to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States.
If you think you may have been a victim of a government grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC online, or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.
The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Click here for more information: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0113-government-grant-scams