Grant scams targeting small businesses
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Watch out for grant scams that promise small businesses in North Carolina tens of thousands of dollars in cash in exchange for hefty upfront fees.
One local small business owner was recently told that she could qualify for more than $300,000 in grants to help revitalize her business. The scam started with a telemarketing call, and the scammer then emailed the business owner official looking documents.
The catch: the grants aren’t real, and the scammers are just trying to get your money and your personal information.
Another grant scam to hit North Carolina recently pitched businesses, consumers and churches a book about how to win grants for $49. People who bought the book then got a follow up telemarketing call asking them to pay nearly $1,000 for help researching and applying for grants. Those who paid got little more than a list of possible grants.
- Beware of anyone who promises you free or easy money in exchange for an advance fee.
- Don’t fall for outfits that claim they can guarantee you’ll get a grant. Real grant programs are competitive, and not everyone who applies gets funding.
- Don’t fall for telephone calls or official-looking letters that say you’ve unexpectedly won a grant you didn’t even apply for, and never give out personal information such as your Social Security or bank account number to someone you don’t know.
For more tips or to report a grant scam, call Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina or visit www.ncdoj.gov.