Strong debate continues to surround the idea of economic stimulus and its effectiveness toward improving the general economy. While the debate rages, President Obama has issued stimuli in various forms. Unfortunately the stimulus meant to help people has also provided dishonest people and organizations an opportunity to scam the general public.
The utility stimulus grant scam is a common scam run mostly on the Internet that targets people hoping to benefit from stimulus payments. Generally the scam will state that Obama’s latest stimulus will pay your monthly utility payment or payments.
There is no such utility stimulus grant. Instead, when people click on the link for more info or to apply they are directed to a phishing site. This site usually asks for credit card information or bank account numbers to charge you a “small processing fee,” or some similar fee, to provide you with the information and/or materials you need to apply for the grant.
Government grant scams are nothing new, but with all the talk of stimulus packages scammers have been able to trick a large number of people in desperate situations into divulging sensitive financial information.
This scam is so commonplace, in fact, that a simple search for stimulus grants will produce millions of sites promising grant money (over 11 million hits at the moment). The US government does not provide grant money in this fashion.
There are many red flags that these offers are not legitimate. Often the sites advertising them are poorly put together with misspellings and terrible grammar. They make wild promises that you only have to pay a “nominal fee” to take advantage of. Remember the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true it probably isn’t.
Mostly, any site promising free money and guaranteeing that they are legit simply isn’t. Don’t ever provide sensitive information to anyone or any site online in hopes of receiving free money. As Rich at Muckmakers.com said “no matter how desperate you get, anyone who is offering you easy money is just trying to make your situation worse. If it sounds too good to be true, it ALWAYS is.”
The utility stimulus grant is a new spin on a very old scam. Unfortunately the poor economy has put many people in a desperate situation and they are willing to grab unto anything that promises them some relief. These utility stimulus grant scams seek to prey on people in these unfortunate and desperate situations. Don’t be fooled into making a bad situation worse by providing your financial and personal information to these scammers.