Wednesday, October 24 2012, 10:55 PM MDT
Government Grant Scam Targets Utahns
Produced by Michelle Poe
(KUTV) Lisa Huiden's phone has been ringing with the promise of “great” news.
“He was calling from Washington D.C.,” Lisa remembers the caller telling her. “He had a grant to give me for $10,000."
And better still, the caller told Lisa the grant is absolutely free and there are no strings attached. Lisa says she asked the caller how she qualified.
“He asked me if I had a criminal record and if I'd lived in the area for a long time and if I had any credit problems,” Lisa said.
Lisa says she was suspicious it could be a scam, so she kept pushing and asking questions that it seems the caller didn't appreciate.
“He said do you want this or not?" Lisa said the caller snapped at her.
Lisa says that eventually the caller hung up on her at which point she knew it was a scam. She decided to Get Gephardt to investigate.
Our investigation found that this is not the first time this particular scam has gone around. The Federal Trade Commission put out a warning several years ago saying if you get a call promising a government grant, "They’re a scam."
Just for fun, 2News decided to call back the number that called Lisa. The woman who answered the phone identified herself as Michelle with the Government Grants Department. But after we identified the call as coming from a T.V. station investigating a story, it seems Michelle forgot she worked for the Government Grants Department.
2News: “I'd like to know more about these grants that you're supposedly offering to people.”
Michelle: “You have reached the wrong number.”
Then Michelle hung up.
As for Lisa, she is glad she realized it was a scam before it was too late and she is sharing her story to warn others.
According to the FTC, had Lisa not asked so many questions, eventually the scammer would have sent her a check and then asked her to wire back some taxes. After some time, the check would bounce and Lisa would be out whatever money she had sent away.
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)