Free Money Scams: Beware

With the rapid rise of the World Wide Web we now have a new category of con men, the internet scammers. They have invaded our privacy by hacking into our accounts, they offer us everything from free goods to jobs which do not exist, on a platter and the worst of the lot are the ones who offer to get you access to “free money” from the government.

Most governments of developed countries have various schemes which are meant for the under-privileged so that they can get financial assistance of some kind to tide over problematic times.  There are student grants, home-remodelling grants, and social service and community grants and many other sources of funds. All of this is part of the social security network provided by governments, and are a boon for those that are able to avail of the grants.

The process of getting these grants is simple, but painstaking. In the US, Grants.gov will give you an excellent listing of the grants which are available and of the eligibility criteria. Since it is an official site, all the forms and FAQ.s are clearly marked out, and the path has been clearly defined.

In Australia, the Government Grants Link Directory is the official source of all the information. It is also a genuine official source and the correct place to go for all the information. In the UK the Small Business site is a similar place to go to look for authenticated information.

Thus it is clear that there are many genuine sites which can guide you in the right direction, but you need to look for them carefully and sift the good from the bad. There are a few guidelines which can be kept in mind when you are looking for the correct person or place where you can apply for a grant.

Most government sites will end in .gov,  gov.uk, gov.au or some such terms in their URL. These are all reserved for the official sites and cannot be misused by other private parties.

No genuine site will ask you for money to register. This is the first step of their con . they ask for registration money before they give you any further information. That request in itself should start ringing alarm bells in your mind.

The government will never make cold calls to you to offer you grants. They have enough people applying for them, they do not need to go out and look for customers.  Forget all about websites which offer you access to free money. They only provide you information that is anyway available for free online. They are only out to make money for themselves; they have no desire to make life simpler for you.

Do remember that grants are given only for a specific purpose and for a certain amount.  Unlike Medicaid and Social Security benefits, they are not given out as assistance to the needy. The grants are meant for a specific purpose, and for that alone.

In the US there are many sites which will provide genuine and correct information. Some of them are listed below:

National Endowment for Arts:

Here you can have a look at the grants and funds available for arts and cultural societies.

Pell Grants:

These are grants which are meant for students and are funded by the US Department of Education.  They are the most widely used grants by students and are an excellent resource for higher education. In 2010-11 the maximum grant available has gone up to $ 5,500, an increase from $ 4,050 in the year 2006-7. Any negative change in your family.s financial status also allows you to apply for a larger grant.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance:

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance contains details of 2,183 Federal Assistance Programs from various departments of the Federal Government.

LIHEAP:

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs are designed to help the low-income groups with their energy problems in their homes. A large ratio of their incomes goes into paying their energy bills, and these grants help to relieve some of that burden.

Grants.Gov:

By far the best resource for government grants, their blurb itself states Grants.gov is your source to FIND and APPLY for federal grants. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is proud to be the managing partner for Grants.gov, an initiative that is having an unparalleled impact on the grant community.. There is no better place than this to get all the correct information and a step bystep guide towards all getting a grant for yourself or your organization.

We cannot emphasise it enough . do not get misled by the sites which offer you Free Money or unclaimed money lying with the government.. This is a misnomer of the first order. They are looking for gullible people who can be misled by fancy words and fancy websites. They play upon the human psyche which is always looking for the easy way out.

There is money available, but first make all your inquiries. Are you eligible for those grants? Is your business entitled to receive some help from the Federal Government? Then go and meet the people concerned or go through the website carefully. Get all your papers in order and then apply with a great deal of care. Make sure that you provide the correct and true information, so that later you are not penalized.

All this can be done without taking the help of unscrupulous websites and fast-talking salesmen.  Make the effort yourself, individually and you will be happier and safer, and will not lose money while going through the process.



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