Scam Money Transfers -
Example - Contact Grant People
or My Grant Outlet-
www.mygrantoutlet.com, Malibu, CA
Here's a variation on the basic scam money transfer email. You received a a check in the mail from "Contact Grant People", of which you are supposed to return 10% to them (at this point you should be asking yourself, why they didn't just keep the 10%!)
In some cases, the alleged organizations, like "Contact Grant People" do exist and may be legitimate. Don't let that fool you. The scammer has nothing to do with them; the email and the grant are all nonsense. If you believe that there are organizations randomly handing out money like this, then we fear you may have been scammed already!
In the specific case below (Contact Grant People or My Grant Outlet) there are quite a number of inconsistencies that add up to "scam" to us. See the email below and a review of the available facts following it.
And if you were crazy enough to write back to them, click here to a typical response the scammers send.
Sample actual scam letter from "Contact Grant People":
I was sent a check in the mail that looks very real. It asks me to deposit the check and once it clears, to send them 10% back. It says it is grant money and that I will not owe them anything back except the 10%. I imagine once I deposit the check it appears as "real" and the money is put into my account, and I give the 10% back, and then the check I deposited is found to be fraudulent and then I become responsible. I just wanted to notify someone as I almost deposited this check. It looks very real.
Clue 1 - A simple Google search turned up this financial matters blog, with a link to this news report of a Federal Trade Commission against a New Orleans company that was claiming to offer "free" government grants (for a fee, of course). The bottom line from all groups, including the FTC is: there is no such things as a free government grant.
Clue 2 - We followed the trail further and checked out www.ContactGrantPeople.com... which had a page saying their website was now www.mygrantoutlet.com/ . That is a typical clue of a scam: they frequently change their domain name. Once people catch on to their scam and the domain name becomes published in lists of scam (like here) they simply change the name.
Clue 3 - We looked at the new website (see the image below) - In our opinion, this is not the website of a legitimate and professional company; if they are legitimate,. they certainly are not very professional. Their website lacks even basic company details about their business. Their "About Us" page includes this statement, which strikes us as fishy, at very best:
"We at Grant Outlet have connection with many of the corporations and wealthy parties who normally give grants. This allows us to easily procure financial aid grants. We specialize in locating individuals of average and below average annual income and procuring financial assistance grants on their behalf, for a small commission."
Clue 4 - We checked out their stated name and address with the Better Business Bureau:
My Grant Outlet
22333 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
This was the final nail in their coffin, so to speak. The Better Business Bureau's report rated them an "F". with 25 of 26 complaints unanswered by "My Grant Outlet". One reviewer/victim (see this page) noted that he received a check for which he did not apply, the bank it was drawn upon had no website, the routing number of the check could not be verified and the "broker" was located out of the country and wanted a Western Union - type wire payment.
It sure looks like a scam to us. Any time you search in
Google on a presumably established company and you find nothing, or only blogs
questioning whether it is a scam, and the Better Business Bureau either has
nothing about them or it is very negative, and it sounds implausible or
too-good-to-be-true... you ought to just move on!
And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive. We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!