Beware of Imposters: What You Should Know

Over the years, we at GrantWatch have had heart-wrenching phone calls from individuals promised to receive large sums of money. That is, of course, after they send the money in advance to pay the taxes on the funds via Green Dot or Western Union. We told them how lucky they were that they took a breath and questioned the legitimacy of the supposed award.

The imposters are now using social media instead of phone calls to defraud individuals identifying themselves as employees of various legitimate grant-information websites. The new scheme takes place on a platform such as Facebook. Then it moves into Facebook Messenger promising that if they send money in the form of a gift card, they will receive a large sum of money in return. How do they suck people in? The imposters ask on Facebook a question about an image, or they pose a question like “what would you do if you received a large sum of money?”

Do Imposters Pose a Risk to You?

Vulnerable populations and older adults are most at risk and are often the target. This makes it especially evil because they often seem to be legitimate. The fraudsters cloak themselves as employed by or affiliates of legitimate companies and offer large cash incentives to entice the individual to provide detailed personal information and hurriedly send fees in the form of gift cards, cash or wires that they will never see again.

In these difficult times, many people jump at the chance to receive free money. But, simply put, there is no such thing.

Tips to help keep you safe online:
  • Do not engage if you are contacted by an unknown person through social media claiming you are eligible to receive money.
  • Do not engage with a friend of a friend unless you have verified with your friend (through a phone call) that they are in fact their friend.
  • Never send money in the form of gift cards, prepaid cards, or through apps in response to a solicitation.

Do Grants Cost Money?

Solicitations through social media are most likely scams perpetrated by fraudsters with fake accounts. Most of the time, it’s not even their real name or photo. There are many imposters claiming to work for certain companies and organizations with the promise of sending money. This not only drags the company’s name in the mud, but also gives the illusion of credibility to the unsuspecting victims.

If you think the message could be legitimate, contact the company using a website or phone number you know is real. Don’t use the information in the text message.

GrantWatch and its staff will never send you solicitations via social media. GrantWatch is a grant listing directory and not the grant funder. We do not award grants — we are simply a database for all current grant listings. All payments are made through the safe and secure portal on our website. We never ask for cash or gift cards.

Our customer service team at GrantWatch works diligently to help our website visitors and subscribers obtain legitimate grant information. We respond through phone calls, emails, and online chats.

You can report all grant scams, grant imposters or related fraud to the Federal Trade Commission. Reach out to them through their website or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

GrantWatch is committed to ensuring that nonprofits have the proper information about grants made available. And our team is consistently updating this list to reflect any updates available.

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