A free government grant worth thousands was simply waiting for Idaho Falls resident Lyle Woolstenhulme. Free!
Mike Newman, from the federal treasury department, confirmed that Woolstenhulme had been selected from hundreds of residents to receive this free grant.
To receive the free grant, he needed to pay a $210 processing fee by sending a Western Union money order.
“I said, ‘I wouldn’t pay anything for a ‘free’ grant unless I could be assured the grant was real,’” Woolstenhulme said.
At that point, the caller said Woolstenhulme would have to talk with Mike Newman, an account supervisor, at 202-657-6496.
Instead, Woolstenhulme called BBB. The “free grant” is one more variation to the free money scam that has been around for ages. The federal government and private foundations do not select grant winners by random. Actually, the grant process is generally long and very competitive and only those who apply are considered.
“Remember the government does not call people to give away money,” says Dale Dixon, CEO for BBB serving the Snake River Region. “They just don’t give away money to people.”
Whether by a phone call or email, the grant is a scam. No one can be awarded a grant if they did not apply.
When BBB called the number, Mike Newman had a heavy accent, refused to identity the nature of his business, or the nature of his call to the Woolstenhulme.
He said he was with the Federal Treasury Department and asked for my identification number (Woolstenhulme was given an ID number), and refused to talk to when we identified we were BBB.
He responded, “You have no business calling me.” He then hanged up.
BBB offers the following advice:
- Watch out for phrases like “free grant money.” Grants do not have to be repaid; thus there is no need to use the word “free.”
- The federal government and private foundations do not usually give out grants for personal debt consolidation, or to pay for other personal needs. Grants are usually given only to serve a social good such as bringing jobs to an area, training under-employed youth, preserving a bit of history, etc.
- Visit your public library. Ask a librarian to help you find reference books describing foundations and the criteria they use in awarding grants.
- Be wary if you are asked to give money up-front to an unknown company before the company will give the services promised.
- If you are having financial problems, there are local non-profit credit-counseling services that may be able to help you with your problem at no charge.