Scam offers Valley woman free $7,000 federal grant

Scam offers Valley woman free $7,000 federal grant

By Loni Blandford. CREATED Aug 24, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- With high unemployment and foreclosure rates Nevada is at the top of some lists that we aren't too proud of. But scammers are using those dismal numbers to prey on Valley residents. In this Contact 13 consumer alert, what stopped one woman from handing over her cash.

"Nevada has been identified as one of thee states hard hit," explained a Valley woman.

That's why a caller told her she was eligible for a grant to the tune of $7,000. He claimed to be from the Federal Government Grant Department. The senior, who asked us not to use her name, knows there are scams out there but says this sounded somewhat legit.

"He didn't ask me for any information, no social security number, nothing," said the woman.

She even asked the man for his number. He gave her a Washington, DC area code and answered the phone professionally when she called back. Those were all things that made her think she may actually be getting the grant.

"He says I couldn't use it for drugs or gambling or anything illegal," said the woman.

She says the man told her to go to a Western Union and call him when she gets there because she needed to do one thing before she could get the $7,000.

"As soon as he said that there was a $200 processing fee I knew something was wrong," explained the woman.

So she emailed Contact 13 in hopes of letting others know not to fall for his ploy. The Federal Trade Commission's web site has advice for consumers when it comes to federal grants: don't take them for grant-ed.

The FTC says if you have to pay money for a free government grant, it isn't really free.

"This is under President Obama it sounds all very official," said the woman.

Remember the DC area code? The FTC says con artists use technology to make it look like they're calling from somewhere when they could be sitting in a room halfway around the world.

"Just be careful of scams like that and make sure that you don't fall for something like that," said the woman.

So here's the Contact 13 bottom line. We did some checking and learned there is no such agency as the Federal Grants Administration. The woman in our story is on the Do Not Call list, but sometimes that doesn't stop scammers. So the FTC urges you to file a complaint with them about these scams. Click here to learn how to do so.