Bogus government grant scam targets local consumers

The following is a Press Release from the Better Business Bureau:

When consumers are strapped for cash, scammers are looking for new ways to take advantage. The BBB has received a large number of calls concerning a scam that offers a government grant to pay bills.

Individuals (usually low income or government subsidized) are contacted by phone and told that they can have their bills paid for free and are provided with a routing number to a bank account.  While the bank account routing number is legitimate, it can still be a stolen account.  Consumers are told to use the number on the back of their social security card as an account number.

Individuals will receive an authorization number to make the payment, as the transaction goes through and "appears to be paid" the individual will later be hit with a NSF for the bill they attempted to pay. This can take 3 -5 business days to appear.  Individuals have paid bills from local utilities to student loans, and even car loans.

"We are not aware of any government grant that will help consumers pay their personal bills," states Carmen Million, BBB President.

Million warns that consumers should be aware that they may be hit with late fees, etc. on these accounts because of the bogus payment. Consumers who have participated in this scam should immediately contact the company where the bogus payment was made to make arrangements to settle the issue.

The Better Business Bureau recommends that consumers check out any offer that sounds too good to be true before getting involved.