Below are some tips for protecting yourself against fraud from the Better Business Bureau:
- YOU WILL NOT BE CONTACTED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO OFFER YOU A GRANT. The government does not contact people to offer them money. If you do qualify for a government grant, the government does not request payment for it.
- THERE ARE NO FEES ASSOCIATED WITH APPLYING FOR A GOVERNMENT GRANT. Providing financial information to prove that you qualify for a government grant is typical, but you should never pay money to apply for a grant. People who run scams often claim to provide help and sometimes claim to be "federal government" officials, don't be fooled by these scams that request money from you.
- ALL GOVERNMENT GRANTS INVOLVE AN APPLICATION PROCESS. If you have not submitted an application for a government grant and someone claims you have been awarded one, it's a scam. Grant money is not given over the phone for a fee. In order to qualify for a grant you must apply for the specific opportunity that you are qualified to apply for.
- GOVERNMENT GRANTS ARE AWARDED FOR EXPLICIT OPPORTUNITIES. Government Grants are typically awarded to states, cities, educational institutions, nonprofits and other organizations to fund research and other projects.
- GOVERNMENT GRANT APPLICATIONS AND INFORMATION IS FREE. Be cautious of offers that ask for your personal information (especially financial) when requesting a fee to access grant information. You can always access free information about government grants and other benefits at Grants.gov and Govbenefits.gov.
For additional information The National Procurement Fraud Task Force developed Grant Fraud to help you and your organization detect and prevent fraud. http://www.grants.gov/assets/GrantFraud.pdf