CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs is warning the public of government grant scams.
According to SCDCA officials, scammers have been calling people telling them they will be receiving a government grant between the amount of $9,000 and $50,000.
The victim is then asked for bank account information so the scammer can direct deposit the grant money.
SCDCA officials say before sending money or giving out bank account information, consumers should follow the tips below:
1. Be aware. Stop and think- did you even apply for a grant? If not, this should be your first red flag the caller is a scammer!
2. Don't be fooled by fake names. Scammers are skilled at making their story sound convincing. While someone claiming to be from the "Federal Grants Administration" might sound official, there is no such agency.
3. Never verify information. When fielding phone calls from persons asking about personal information, feel free to hang up. Contact the business directly at the number you know is correct to verify the call.
4. Don't pay for something that is supposed to be free. A real government agency won't ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant you've already been awarded.
5. "I know this is a scam!" Let the scammer know they will be reported and will not be getting payment or information from you! Share your experience with your friends and family to help prevent them from becoming victims of this scam, too.
6. Looking for a grant? Visit www.grants.gov or your local library to search and apply for a grant. Also, check with your local library branch to see if any free grant workshops are on the calendar. There are companies out there that may offer to prepare grant applications for you for a fee. Be wary of these offers and remember that you can apply for grants for free!