U.S. Treasury calls (202-657-6496) are fraudulent; do not respond

By Robb Hicken/ chief storyteller

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.


Filed under Scam alert

47 responses to “U.S. Treasury calls (202-657-6496) are fraudulent; do not respond

  1. james

    i wish i would have seen this before i fell for it =(

    • Christine Backey

      I was told to 202-808-3724 and asked for a Mr. Eric Carter to receive 8400 dollars in grant money but I needed to pay a $200.00 dollar processing fee. So I no the number is not the same as the one posted but they could not speak good English and I just wanted to make everyone aware.

    • Tim

      I just received a very similar call from ANDY Newman from the “U.S. treasury”. Clearly not the same guy, although he also had a thick accent, since he called from (202) 666-6377

    • Nelson

      I just received a phone call from a Lynn Jones calling from 202-666-9040 claiming that I have been randomly selected out of 15,000 people to receive a federal grant in the amount of $8,400. She asked me to verify my mailing address and stated that in order to receive my grant money from the “US Treasury Grant Dept-Federal Bank of N.Y” I would need to provide a re loadable card number and info to her such as a Wal-Mart Money Card. I was incompetent and provided her with the information but have since cancelled that particular card. Anyhow, in order to receive the grant money, she said I would need to contact her account supervisor by the name of Phri of Chris Walton with the verification dept.@ 202-470-5468. I could not understand her very clearly because of the thick ethnic accent. I called the number and he asked for t “Grant approval ID” which I received from Lynn, and then proceeded to say that in order to release the grant of $8,400, I would need to pay a one time bank processing fee of $215. I was extremely skeptical from the beginning, but this is when I was sure that I was recruited for a fraudulent SCAM!

  2. Jessica Reyna

    They tried to get me too but Im too smart for that shit.. Its funny how none of them speak well english too.

  3. Sanjula

    i received the call today and started searching online with the number… the person asked for my a/c number and bank details but i said let me get back to him later… and gave me the ph number to call… sheer scam!

  4. l

    As soon as anyone wants bank info over the phone, I’m out. What a joke! I’ve been struggling log enough to know no one, NO ONE, just gives you thousands of dollars.

  5. Rose

    i didn’t give any money…but i did my a/c info..i know, i know, stupid move. but can they use it?? :/

    • If you provided your account info, please call your bank immediately and alert them to the situation. You are no the first person this has happened to, so do not feel embarrassed about it, let them know so they can keep any unauthorized transaction from occurring. ROBB

  6. KAE

    http://www.mygovernmentgrants.com is a real website but Ryan Cooper gives this number- who also had a very heavy accent; when I called the number 516-673-0621, which is where he called from, it is a non working number. The number 202-657-6496 is the number for the verification but when you ask the rude woman any questions, she hangs up and she says that you can’t speak to Ryan Cooper and there is no Mike Newman. They are very persistent about attempting to get your card…now they are asking for bank cards or Walmart cards and American Express Cards…BEWARE and BE CAREFU

  7. ed

    they just called me too saying i was randomly selected for a 8400 grant but had to pay a 205 processing fee thats when i jumped on the internet to see if i could find out any info on this

  8. today 8/15/12 someone called from department of treasury said i was selected for a one time giveaway grant 8000 i need to give them my bank account so it could be depoisted then they would give me a confirmation number the number that called was 282-777-7212


    need answers what if i gave those people my bank an routing number but my bank account has no money in it i wont be getting no money either will that effect me.

    • If you believe you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately. Tell them you did not authorize the debit and you want to prevent further debiting. If your confirmation notice does not accurately represent your understanding of the sale, use the refund procedure. If you can’t get satisfaction from the company, you may file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

  10. cameron crayton

    They just called me and have been calling me for days. luckily i look up the number on google. bc i just new it was a scam. too good to be true.

  11. Tere

    Today, I received a call stating I was selected to receive a 7,000 grant. It actually made my day because the first call didn’t ask for anyting; however, they gave me another number to call (202-657-5308) and an approval number. He said ask for Janet Morris. When I called, she ask for the approval number and told me to hold on while she take out my ‘file’. The processing fee did came up ($330) and this will be done through Western Union. It sounds so real because they know my whole name and my address; everytime, I signed for commercial stuff I usually just put my nickname. It was tempting but it’s good that there is an article like this that had validated my instinct. Thank You.

  12. maggie

    they called me today, I said I have never heard of this program and would not be giving out my account number. he then said oh we can pay in cash today. I replied how he said westeren union. so he then gave me the number of his accomplise. really people come on when does the goverment give out money because you have paid your taxes on time and have committed no crimes in the last 3 months….hahahahahaha

  13. sweetp

    I just got 2 calls today stating that i was selected for an $8000 loan. unfortunately i am waiting on a loan and thought this was them so i gave them my account number and routing number like a dummy. then she said i needed to pay $210 in order to get my money and when i would like to pay. so i told her i shouldn’t have to pay and told her i would call back. that’s when i looked it up and found this site. i can’t believe these people are allowed to do this without being prosecuted. it should be totally illegal. now i’m on the phone with my back trying to see if i can avoid closing my account. just be careful and never ever give out any information. EVER!!!!!

  14. Marie

    Ok, I’m 19 years old, and I fell for it. All I was thinking about was money I could use towards college and possibly use for these expensive books. I didn’t pay the $210, however I did give them my account number. I don’t have money in my account, but because I gave them my account # will they be able to mess with my money, or take any money out if i did have money in there? Should I cancel the account and make a new one? What should I do?

    • Remember to contact your bank and notify them of this. They can watch for any peculiar transactions, deposits, withdrawals, etc. It’s also good protection for you in that if they do mess with your account, you’ve notified them.

  15. Mariko

    I’ve been getting these phone calls almost everyday for the last two weeks. The first time they called and they identified themselves as being from the United States Treasury I was immediately on the alert. After serving in the military for 4 years and being educated about this type of stuff intermittently for 4 years, I got on the computer while they were telling me how i had been approved and what not, the entire google page said nothing but Fraud….Don’t listen to them.

  16. bay

    I recieved one of these calls 2day and they wanted me to give them my account #. I felt in my gut it wasnt right so i gave them an old prepaid card number then they had me call someone else who told me i had to donate $205 to a donation to recieve my grant. Smh yea right. If u gone come to this country tryna get over on ppl learn how to speak english first and know that aint nobody gonna pay to get something free. How does that sound lol. Maybe that works over there where they from but not over here lol.

  17. irritated!!

    I have been receiving these calls for months. They say free money I say not interested and hang up. Todays call I say not interested the man starts yelling about how I wasted HIS time. Really? you called me 9 times today!!! Will using the do not call registry make them “unable” to call?

  18. LJ

    I got the same phone call today, telling me I’ve been selected to receive $7,000. I was immediately suspicious and was saying “uh huh” just to feel him out. The man (with a heavy indian accent) told me I could receive the money by giving my bank account number, a credit card, or a check. I said check (obviously), and he then gave me a confirmation code and told me to call 353-220-7288 and ask for Ashley Crackston. After finding these comments, I will be ready if they decide to call me again… haha I hope they call.

  19. Matt seastrand

    202-738-4519 is also a bogus # they tried there best to get me 9200 but i told them no thanks on the western union just mail me my check. they wanted 230 bucks on western union. total scam

  20. Jerry Meyer

    Me too… 202-738-4519… Same thing, I get $9200 if I give $250. Just made no sense to me… I vowed to find him & do terrible things to him. He cussed me back… I keep calling the number & they send me to a voicemail. I leave threatening messages… I’ll keep calling till they block my number… They sound like terrorists… WTF

  21. Audrey Prosser

    I just got called from 2532050739, they had my name and address and phone number, even though I have a private cell. I was given a confirmation number and told to immediately call 202-697-9911 to start the Western Union money order,. Beware!

  22. Clarkey

    Wow! Initially I was excited, I thought my prayers were answered. Of course I was skeptical and told him that, he said he understood and assure me that this was for real. I could not understand him properly so asked to speak with his supervisor hoping that they spoke clearer English – no better, but she attempted to read slower when I asked her to. She proceeded to ask me if I ever sent anything via Western Union, I told her no, she then looked up two locations in my neighborhood and told me to send the funds and while on then phone she would ensure that my money was sent.
    I asked her for the information to send via Western Union and she said she would give me that information once I was at the Western Union store. I asked why she could not give it to me prior to me going to the store, she said because the money must be transferred within 15 minutes of me sending the $230 I had to call from the WU and conduct the transfer while on the phone with her. She asked how long it would take me to get to the WU I told her an hour………
    I then went to Google and found you…..although I was not going to send any money, I wanted to know if such a grant was truly available from the government – not that I really believed. Thanks to all for confirming.
    I should be compensated for the inconvenience!!!!

  23. rosa

    me too got the call from us government federal and treasury department.They told me that i have been selected for $8400 grant reward all because i was a good citizen.Foolishly i gave my all my bank information and all my personal information like address ,date of birth.luckily i found someone who knew about these fraud people.Immediately i closed my bank account i dont have any worries about my bank information as they are closed but i m really worried about my personal information hope they dont use them for wrong purposes.Anyone with the answer please reply me with your sugestions

  24. Tom Clay

    I just got the same call and was wondering if the Federal Government was investigating. I told the person I worked for the FBI but it didn’t phase her. Then I said I do want the money and to please send me a check. That did bring an end to the conversation!!

  25. Bandy

    I just received a call today stating that I was approved to receive an $8000 grant that I don’t have pay back. Of course the guy hung up on me when I stared asking too many questions and told him repeatedly that I could not understand what he was saying.

    • The question to ask here is, “Did you apply for the grant?” The grant process takes months, interviews and callbacks. Grants are not simply doled out. Good job to ask lots of questions.

  26. and they give you address info to verify, great that I do not share personal info unless I’m the one calling them… 😦 they just tried.

  27. Persona Buena

    Got a call from Caroline 202-666-1933 stating that she represented the U.S. Treasury Grant Department with $8k for having been a loyal citizen and serving my country all these years. She wanted bank account or credit/debit account info. Seriously? She says we’re being recorded so if I’m not telling the truth I’ll lose my job. So how to I verify you are telling the truth? She said you can call the FBI. Great! Maybe that’s exactly what I will do. Click. Seriously? In this day and age, who believes this ridiculous type of phone call? There is no such thing as a free lunch!

  28. Yemy

    I just got a call regarding this too. I was selected randomly to get $7,000.00 dollars from the United Stated Federal Treasury for being a good citizen and not having a criminal record. I new it’s a scam but I just wanted to see what they would ask. They just confirmed my work address and wanted me to call 202-738-1655. I don’t think so. I check the website right away and found this posting. They even gave me a code to confirm my free Grant. Yeah, right! Yeap I agree no such thing a FREE Grant.

  29. Tanya wideman

    I was just contacted by the department of treasury to be given a free government grant of the amount of 7,000 and that I needed to contact carol moremzy @ 202-738-4217 and in order for me to receive my 7,000 I needed to pay 310 for a security deposit and that I would be reimburse the 310 when I pick up the western union money.

    • The Department of Treasury is not giving out grants, awards or investments. Don’t give out personal or financial information to these people. There are no grants that are “free”. It takes preparation and application to earn a grant.

  30. Jackie Hymel

    My husband just received a call from a person, with a thick accent, saying that they were with the US Department of Treasury and they had $9,200 of Free Grant money for him. All he had to do is call 202-470-1647 and give her name “Anna Penky and the code #G1053”. I call the number back, gave the name Anna Penky and the code and was asked for my name and zip code. The lady on the line said that the US Department of Treasury had this $9,200 for me. I said thank you and asked when would I get it? She said that because they had so many problems with people’s credit cards and checking accounts, I had to go to a grocery store and purchase something call a “Green Dot” card for $4.22 and they would put the money on the card. I said great but asked her to clarify just where the money was coming from. She said something about an over abundance of IRS tax refund money from the government. I asked her if it was associated with my own tax refund? She ask someone in the background, I heard whispering to her and suddenly, she hung up. I’m writing because they are using a different approach and I wanted to make others aware just like I was by you guys, which I’m so grateful for. What if they targeted your parents or like the kid earlier who thought that it would be great to pay off their student loans or use for books? The Bible says that ” You will reap what you sow” so I’m asking God to return to these people the same scam that they are using on others and they lose EVERYTHING they have some kind of way, the money be returned to people who had a loss because of these scams.

    • Grants are very difficult to receive. It takes hours of preparation and application. If you didn’t apply for a grant you didn’t get one. Good to hear you scared them off.

  31. Donovan Yazzie

    I paid $400.00 to receive a grant but Alex watts said he needed $599.00 for me to receive the grant. I don’t know if I should pay or ask for it back or simply just sue them and they also ask for my info name and all he also said he works for the U.S. treasury what should I do? I think its from the district of Columbia or Washington d.c. they called from.

    • Grants are free. You should never have to pay to receive a grant. If you have spent the hundreds of hours needed to apply for a grant, the money is there for you to use. Never pay money for a grant.

  32. Donovan Yazzie

    I also would like to say that the number is 202 697 9636. This Alex watt dude should be punished or the whole U.S. treasury should be sued by us people who lost money. the people who lost their money should get together and do something about it. Free money should not have to be paid for I hope they don’t clean out our bank by giving them our account number and routing number! I hope I get my money back. My name is Donovan Yazzie.:-(

  33. Francisco j Mendoza

    I just got one of those calls to my cell phone number this is the number if you need it to update your list (202) 763-1131
    DC, USA
    Thanks for your te and help with the information

  34. ruby

    Do not call or respond to phone number 202-436-9100 either….they called me 4 days straight until I finally answered. I thought it was a university for classes.giving out “$4800” good thing am from abroad so it made no sense and threatened them with the police and they promptly hung up.

  35. Kwame Key

    yeah !!! They have heavy eastern accents and the lady is very rude and agitated when you ask questions.And i’m the type to ask thousands of questions !!! Although the scam sounds the same the numbers and names have changed. (206-201-2377),(Alana Dawson ext. 608). they’ll tell you your approved because you paid your tax’s on time or ex…. And that their was only 1,000-1,700 people chosen for the grant and when you try to get off the phone they will pressure you by saying ” I’m not trying to take your hard earned money it’s free so if you don’t want it i can delete your info’ the grants they offer will be anywhere from 5,000-8,500 and want you to purchase a ” GREEN DOT MONEY PACK/ PAY PAL ” And not the actual card. Very suspicious in it on right ????? Be very careful and aware

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