On Your Side: Consumers lose millions in grant scams

Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 2:37 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2022 at 2:49 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It’s a scam. On Your Side has warned you for years and new data shows that more are falling for it.

It’s the grant scam. A new report shows consumers lost more than $445 million to government impostors last year.

Crooks call text, email, or contact you on social media and say they’re a government agent. They’ll tell you’ve won a grant. Here’s the trick. Swindlers say to get your money, you have to pay a little.

“You have to pay a processing fee and taxes if you want $100,000,” said Stephanie Garland with the Better Business Bureau. “There’s a percentage you have to pay. Gift cards or crypto. Both of which are hard, if not impossible, to get money back,” she said.

Once you send money, it’s gone. You know to look for bad grammar. And out of the blue messages from friends. But remember this: You don’t win grants. You qualify for grants.

Scammers know about pandemic payments. They hope to confuse you. If you get a text, email, or Facebook message about a grant, delete it.

Here are three ways to dodge scam calls.

Do not answer unknown numbers

Swindlers know you have a working number when you pick up, so they’ll keep calling.

Join No-Call lists

Federal Do-Not-Call:

1-888-382-1222 https://www.donotcall.gov/

Missouri Do-Not-Call:

866-No Call 1 (866-662-2551) https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/no-call

Try an App

Consumer Reports says try: Nomorobo, Hiya, Mr. Number, RoboKiller, and YouMail.

For a landline, try a call blocker. It’s a small device you put next to your phone. Those can cost anywhere from $20-$100, but it might be worth your peace of mind.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

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