Looking to cash in on government grants? BBB says think again.
Do you think you are entitled to free money from the Canadian government? You may have seen a website or read an ad in a newspaper that offers ways to access government grants for everything from disabilities to paying off your debt.
While is may look like “free” advice, Better Business Bureau is cautioning consumers about a number of companies offering access to federal grant money through the purchase of grant kits. Instead of receiving help to navigate through the Federal tax system, consumers are exposing themselves to financial risk.
This scheme typically has a flashy testimonial, sometimes with a picture of a person holding a government cheque for thousands of dollars. The company offers guaranteed money back from the government, or offers an exaggerated claim amount to entice people to act. In the end, people give out their credit card information to these unqualified scammers.
One company, Grantsmoney.com, contacted consumers by e-mail once they registered on their website. What is supposed to be access to a kit on how to secure grant money is actually a membership fee of $90 per month.
The Grantsmoney.com website is for a company called Positive Thinking Management Limited, which purports to be based in the United Kingdom. If you read the fine print of the website, consumers will have to go to court in the United Kingdom to get their money back if they do not agree with the contract terms.
Before paying any money for assistance in earning government grants, BBB offers the following advice:
• While it’s true that the Federal government does give out billions of dollars in grant money every year, most grants are given to help students pay for college or for specifically defined reasons, such as research or to help fund businesses in particular industries.
• There’s no reason to pay for software or guides when applying for government grants. Such information is available free on the Service Canada website: servicecanada.gc.ca
• If you are concerned about a suspicious advertisement that appears on a website you are visiting, report it to the website administrators.
• If you believe that you are a victim of fraud contact phonebusters.com
• For more advice and to check out company reports, go to www.mbc.bbb.org
OCTOBER 2009 SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER ISLAND
OCTOBER 2009 SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER AND LOWER MAINLAND
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