North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice
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Don’t Let Scammers Take You for Granted

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Scammers are using the lure of grant money to steal hard-earned dollars from North Carolina’s farmers. The scammers say they can help farmers secure grants totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. A large portion of their fee must be paid in advance, even though the contract claims there is no upfront cost.
Alfred and Curtis Wooten, owners of Shaken Creek Farms in Burgaw, were promised loans and grants of $371,000 by Valley Business Development. When North Carolina officials attempted to contact the company at its address in Las Vegas, representatives were evasive. The company isn’t registered with the Secretary of State’s office in Nevada or North Carolina.
Grant scams are on the rise, and Attorneys General from North Carolina and a number of other states are preparing to go to trial in federal court on a similar grant funding scam that targeted lower income and older consumers.  Consumers who took the bait and made initial payments were re-victimized by “grant coaching services” after they failed to secure grants on their first attempts.
Legitimate government grant programs are competitive and not everyone who applies gets funding. Beware of telephone calls or official-looking letters that tout your eligibility for grants. Instead of paying a fee for help finding grants, check directly with federal, state and local government offices to find out about grant opportunities.  Information about real government grants and loans is available at www.grants.gov and www.govbenefits.gov.
Report grant scams to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a consumer complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.