WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) - We have a "7 On Your Side" warning for you about a scam that is cleaning out some East Texan's bank accounts. The Better Business Bureau says a "Government Grant Scam" is running rampant.
Christal Anderson of Whitehouse got an approval in the mail for $25,000 in government grants, which she says looked legit.
"I've been expecting a check from the IRS and I thought it was the same people," said Anderson.
And the BBB said she is not alone.
"We get one or two a day," said Kay Robinson.
The scheme works by you paying a small service fee for the caller issuing you grant money...so they claim. When they asked Anderson for her bank account number, she became suspicious. But unfortunately for her friend, it was too late. She said her friend did release that information and is now left penniless.
"It's hurt a lot of families," said Anderson. "For somebody to go on and give them your information they clean out people's bank account, I mean, they don't care who they're hurting. All they want is money. And I think that these people should be caught and they should pay for what they're doing."
The company issuing these cards is out of Kansas with an "F" rating from the BBB and more than 40 complaints. Kay Robinson said it's extremely sad, that these schemes pray off people's vulnerability during tough economic times.
"A week doesn't go by that we don't have one or two people either call us or come in to talk about the fact that they have gotten a grant from the government," said Robinson. "And sometimes they'll sit dejectedly in their chair and [say,] 'Oh, you mean this is a scam? This isn't true?' and it's hurtful."
"I can't say there's nothing to hope for or nothing but it hurts," said Anderson. "It hurts for people to sit there and play games like that. When you get stuff like that in the mail, it's like, well, maybe it's a fresh step in our life."
It is another hard reminder that relief won't come that easy.
"You can want to believe it, but please call us first," said Robinson.
The BBB urges you to remember, grants don't just arrive unexpectedly without you applying for them first. Also, the government will never require you to pay a fee in advance.