12 On Your Side: $7,000 grant scam targets Augusta college student

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Feb. 10, 2014


It's been a dream for Paula Grant. "I want to be a cosmetologist," said Grant. She applied to college recently so it did not seem odd when she got a call offering her financial assistance to pay for school. Grant said the caller told her she was with the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C. "I was approved for a $7,000 grant," said Paula.

To process the grant she would need to use a Green Dot card to pay the $250 fee. Then provide the 14-digit code on the back. It was too late when she realized what went wrong.

"It's a scam. They're scamming people out of their money," said Grant. She admits she missed a big clue that it could be a scam when the caller had trouble pronouncing her name. She demanded her money back but said the caller gave her a different option.

"Told me to stick it up my butt," said Grant. While this scam has been around for years, the Better Business Bureau says many folks fall victim because they are not familiar with how the grant system actually works.

The BBB says if someone is promising you a free grant: never give out your bank account information and never pay any money up front.
"I hope that they don't scam nobody else because they are rip offs," said Grant.

If someone calls offering you a grant, always ask for information in writing. Also most grants have an application process so if you are offered a free grant for a fee just hang up the phone or walk away.

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