Hang Up: Government Grant Scam Going Around

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CLEVELAND – If you get a phone call from a person saying you have been awarded a government grant, The Better Business Bureau says it’s a scam, and just hang up.

Susan Hensal of Doylestown said she got one of those phone calls on Tuesday.

"He said that I was awarded a federal grant because I paid my taxes on time every year and he seen that last year I didn't file no dependents because my kids are all grown," Hensal said.

For a moment her hopes were high, but then it turned to suspicion.

"And then I said 'this is not a scam is it?' and he said 'no, this is not a scam. The federal government owes you money,'" Hensal said.

Sue McConnell with the Cleveland Better Business Bureau said the crooks usually target people who don't have a lot of money to begin with.

"The first caller gets you on the phone, catches you off-guard. You've been awarded a grant, and then somebody will call and follow-up, claiming to be the IRS," McConnell said.

"They'll either want you to provide them with credit card or checking account information, or they will ask you to go get a pre-loaded debit card, like a Green Dot money pack card, to pay them," McConnell said.

Hensal said she did not give the man her information. He told her to call a Washington, D.C. number and a woman would wire her $9,000.

Hensal said she didn't fall for it.

"It's not right what these people are doing," Hensal said.

"The IRS is never going to call you and demand money from you. They don't call you to say, 'gee, we have your refund or we have a special program for you and we can't wait to give you money,'" McConnell said.

McConnell said the best bet is to hang up. You should also report the call to police or the Better Business Bureau so they can keep track of how many people are being targeted.