Grant scam sees surge

12:30 PM, Apr 30, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- It's a new twist on an old scam. We're helping protect your wallet by passing along a warning from the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection.

John Sours with Office of Consumer Protection says it starts with a phone call. The criminal will sometimes use spoofing software, so it shows up on your caller ID as a legitimate organization, usually a government entity.

The caller lays out government programs that offer grants. They might say you're eligible because you've been out of work, are underwater on your house, or paid your bills on time. This scam is seeing a huge resurgence because there are legitimate programs available.

These are not legit. Instead, they say you need to pay a fee for the grant or they just need your bank account to direct deposit the money. Either way, you'll never see that money, and you're out whatever feed you've paid or more, after they steal from your account.

"This is a scam that has endless number of specific combinations," Sours said."I always tell people if it's too good to be true, it probably is. And this fits into that category. But, secondly, government doesn't usually pass things out. It takes them."

He offers a few ways to avoid being ripped off:
- Never give out personal information on a solicited phone call.
- Never pay to receive anything "free".
- Remember that spoofing software means the caller ID might not be accurate.

If you have been solicited by this scam, the Federal Trade Commission wants to hear from you. You can call them at 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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