The Federal Trade Commission works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The Better Business Bureau offers these tips and suggestions to protect yourself from grant fraud:
(1). ALL GOVERNMENT GRANTS REQUIRE AN APPLICATION PROCESS. If you have not submitted an application for a government grant and someone claims you have been awarded one, it's a scam. Grant money is not given over the phone for a fee. In order to qualify for a grant you must apply for the specific opportunity that you are qualified to apply for.
(2). GOVERNMENT GRANT APPLICATIONS AND INFORMATION IS FREE. Be cautious of offers that ask for your personal information (especially financial) when requesting a fee to access grant information. You can always access free information about government grants and other benefits at Grants.gov and Govbenefits.gov. as an additional resource.
(3). GOVERNMENT GRANTS ARE AWARDED FOR EXPLICIT OPPORTUNITIES. Government Grants are typically awarded to states, cities, educational institutions, nonprofits and other organizations to fund research and other projects.
(4). THERE ARE NO FEES ASSOCIATED WITH APPLYING FOR A GOVERNMENT GRANT. Providing financial information to prove that you qualify for a government grant is typical, but you should never pay money to apply for a grant. People who run scams often claim to provide help and sometimes claim to be "federal government" officials, don't be fooled by these scams that request money from you.
(5). YOU WILL NOT BE CONTACTED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO OFFER YOU A GRANT. The government does not contact people to offer them money. If you do qualify for a government grant, the government does not request payment for it.
The National Procurement Fraud Task Force developed Grant Fraud, a document that provides tips to protect your organization and the source of your federal funds by helping to detect and prevent fraud. http://www.grants.gov/assets/GrantFraud.pdf