Yesterday I got a phone call from “Kim Smith” of Federal Government Grants. She had a decidely East Indian accent and persisted that she was calling because the U.S. Federal Government wanted to give me $7,000 because my credit is good, I am a good citizen and I pay all my bills on time.
She said that when I get the money I have to promise not to use it for anything bad like gambling, alcohol or drugs, but that I should feel free to use it for anything positive, like towards my mortgage payment, buying a car, school for my kids or home improvement.
The phone call went on and on with lots of requests for agreement and she kept asking me to speak up because she couldn’t hear me. Eventually she told me how to claim my grant money. She needed me to answer a few questions confirming my address, phone , date of birth…. you see where this is heading now, right? Then after all the questions, I had to call (213) 599-7374 which I was told was the Federal Government Grants Accounts department and let the person on the other end of the phone know that I talked with Kim Smith and give my confirmation number.
Well obviously I didn’t call, so Kim Smith called me back a couple of hours later asking me why I hadn’t yet called and asked me to tell her when I would call. I told her I would call by 2 p.m. So at 1:55 p.m. for the hell of it I called, and what happened?
The same story all over again with another woman with an Indian accent explaining the nature of the program and what was involved with lots of questions, asking me to speak up so that she could hear my response. (Do you think she was recording my responses perhaps?)
Does this sound fishy or phishy or vishy to you? It did to me so I hung up. I’m wondering if anyone else has had any similar experiences and what you did or would do if you got such a call. Care to share?
I did a little research and found a nice article on about.com – Federal Government Grants: No Free Lunch, The Truth About Federal Government Grants which also pointed me to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance website which looks like a good resource for applying for government grants if that’s what you’re looking for, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of anything for individuals who pay their bills on time anywhere.
The moral of the story? If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful out there.
The top three Google AdWords even claim things like “Everyone Approved” and “Never Repay, ” like this: