BEWARE: Callers offering 'free' government grant money

If you believe some internet sites and late night infomercials you would think the government is handing out a lot of free grant money.
 
It's not true and the Valley's Better Business Bureau is seeing a lot of scams in this area.
 
One alleged fraudster called a Valley woman with news that she could get a grant worth $10,200.
 
Barbara Gladu says she was told she qualified because she had no felonies, had never filed bankruptcy and always paid her taxes.
 
Then the caller said she just needed to pay the $185 Arizona taxes on the money.
 
So Barbara says she bought a Money Pak and sent it to the man for the full amount.
 
"These callers are getting more clever, making you feel like you deserve it," says Felicia Thompson with the Better Business Bureau of Central, Northern and Western Arizona.
 
There is a legitimate government site, Grants.gov , full of grant opportunities.
 
But you have to apply for them. 
 
And even that site says "don't believe the hype" about all the free government grants. 
 
It says "few of them are available to individuals and none of them are available for personal financial assistance."
 
Barbara's grant money never came and when she called back she says, "They wanted $500. I said 'are you nuts?'"
 
She'd been scammed and the scammers wanted even more.
 
"We're hearing a lot of cases where once you give that money, they keep calling because they want to get more and more," Thompson says.
 
Barbara now blocks calls she doesn't know, and vows to find the people responsible.
 
"There's no telling how much money these people have sucked out of innocent people like me," she says.
 
But finding these guys is nearly impossible. 
 
They use different numbers and never send any paperwork.
 
Remember, the government will not call and offer you free grants.
 
If you're ever told to wire money or send a Money Pak to someone you don't know, it's a scam. 
 
Contact the Better Business Bureau with any business complaints.
 
E-mail me with any consumer problem you can't solve or "like" the Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.
 
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