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Workers & Retirees

Government Grant Scam

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Government Grant Scam
October 3, 2014

The Office of Inspector General is alerting the public to a series of scams involving fictitious government grants. In most instances, an individual will receive a phone call or email from someone purporting to be a government official. The caller or writer will claim the victim is entitled to a government grant. The caller/writer may already be in possession of the intended target's name and address. At some point, caller/writer informs the victim that in order to receive the government grant, the victim must pay a processing fee. The victim is further solicited for additional personal financial information.

The PBGC does not issue grants. Further, the Federal Trade Commission suggests following a few basic rules* to prevent becoming a victim of this type of scam:

Don't give out your bank account information to anyone you don't know.
Scammers pressure people to divulge their bank account information so that they can steal the money in the account. Always keep your bank account information confidential. Don't share it unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is necessary.

Don't pay any money for a "free" government grant.
If you have to pay money to claim a "free" government grant, it isn't really free. A real government agency won't ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant that you have 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

Look-alikes aren't the real thing.
Just because the caller says he's from the "Federal Grants Administration" doesn't mean that he is. There is no such government agency. Take a moment to check the blue pages in your telephone directory to bear out your hunch - or not.

Phone numbers can deceive.
Some con artists use Internet Technology to disguise their area code in caller ID systems. Although it may look like they're calling from Washington, DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.

Take control of the calls you receive.
If you want to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive, place your telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. To register online, visit To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone number you wish to register.

If you are a victim of a government grant scam using PBGC's name, please contact the PBGC Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-303-9737 to report it.

If you are a victim of a government grant scam not involving PBGC, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (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.

For more information about reporting suspected fraud, waste, or abuse to the Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, please contact: Special Agent in Charge Curtis Flood at ext. 3104, Special Agent Charles Jones at ext. 3315, or Special Agent Claressia Jones at ext. 3685. (TTY/TDD Users: 202-326-4115)

We also invite you to visit our website at

Peter P. Paradis, Sr.
Assistant Inspector General
for Investigations

*Source of "basic rules":