Dear Consumer Ed

I received a call from a company that said it could guarantee me a government grant within 3 months. They asked for an up-front fee of $2500 for writing the grant applications.  I paid the money and now I am worried that I might have been scammed. What do you think?

Consumer Ed says:

This is most likely a scam, since no one can “guarantee” that an applicant will receive a grant. Government grants are usually aimed at the needy, educational institutions, or specialists who can provide assistance to the government. A list of information about government grants and how to apply can be found at www.grants.gov, a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Whenever paying anyone for information or services relating to grant assistance, always research the company.  You can check out a company’s reputation through the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org. In addition, ask the company in question for a copy of its business license, a list of its grant writers, a list of past successful grant applications, the names of the agencies that awarded grants, and a list of references. Keep in mind that legitimate grant-writing companies almost never telemarket, send unsolicited fax advertisements, or advertise by bulk mail to the general public.

Never give out personal information to people you don’t know, especially unsolicited telemarketers. And never pay money to get money. 

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