While there are many free government grants available, there are unfortunately some unscrupulous operators that push fake government grants, mostly through websites, but also through telemarketing, print media and direct mail advertisements. In order to protect yourself from these grant scams, you will need to be aware of how they operate so you can spot them immediately if you come across them.
Websites that offer fake government grants are often very well designed and may feature images and text that would give the visitor the impression that they are browsing a legitimate government website. It is not uncommon for scammers to use official-sounding names, pictures of the American flag, photos of the US president, or official-looking seals on their websites. But if you look at the site carefully, you may spot a disclaimer in very tiny print at the bottom of the site that says something like: “This site is not affiliated with the U.S. Government.”
Scammers will often provide misleading information in their sales copies. They may include pictures of government checks for tens of thousands of dollars, complete with “testimonials” from people who allegedly received them. These check pictures are usually photoshopped, the testimonials are fake and pictures of “happy grant recipients” are just stock photos that anyone can find on the Internet. The site may go on to claim that every American qualifies for a grant. This is actually false. Government grants have specific rules associated with them and strict eligibility criteria. For example, some grants may be available for entrepreneurs, but only those operating in a remote region or in a specific industry.
All that these fake grant websites will give you is a list of links to government websites and forms, which you could get for free simply by doing a quick Google search. This is definitely not something worth the membership fees that are charged by fake grant sites.
Other grant scams, particularly those used by telemarketers, are even more damaging. You may get a call from someone pretending to be from a government agency claiming that you qualify to receive a grant. The catch is that you will need to pay a processing fee, which could often be hundreds of dollars, before getting your grant. Of course, the whole offer is fake and you will receive nothing, as real free government grants don’t require you to pay any advance fees.
If you are looking for genuine free government grants, you should get your information from official government websites that in .gov. Remember that the government will never ask you to pay for a fee before you receive a grant and that all forms and information materials related to grant materials are free of charge.