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Attorney General Larry Long Warns Consumers of Free Grants

Attorney General Larry Long Warns Consumers of “Free Grants”

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Larry Long today warned South Dakota consumers to hang up on telemarketers who “guarantee” government grants in exchange for a “processing fee” or any personal identifying information. 

This scam involves telemarketers falsely identifying themselves as affiliates of the federal government and offering grant or loan money in amounts up to $25,000. The telemarketer will then ask for a processing fee which supposedly covers finding a grant source and the application information. But in most instances there is no source and the consumer is out hundreds of dollars. The telemarketer may also go as far as to ask for your income tax filing information in exchange for a free grant.

“These companies cannot guarantee government funds to you,” said Long. “There is also no surplus of federal funds available for personal grants, so if you receive these types of calls…hang up.”

Long advises consumers to follow these tips when dealing with telemarketers: 

  • Watch for phrases like “free grant money.”
  • Never reveal your personal identifying information to an individual that calls you, including your social security number, bank account or credit card numbers.  
  • Do not react immediately to any offer, and if the telemarketer insists that you act quickly, be suspicious.
  • Ask the caller to send you information in the mail and if he or she is not willing, be suspicious. 
  • Ask for their name, business identity, telephone number, physical address and mailing address before you transact business, if they refuse- hang up.

Consumers with questions or complaints about this telemarketing scam or any other scam are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or by logging on at http://atg.sd.gov/Consumers.aspx.

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