It started off like any call. My phone rang, the number came up as "Washington", I took a few moments to consider who I knew in Washington, and then answered the call. 

 

Guy: [with very thick accent] Hello I am calling from the US Federal Grants Department in Washington,D.C. am I speaking with Miss Anna?

Me: Yes...

Guy: I am calling because you have been selected for a Grant of $9,000 from the Government for being a good Citizen...

Me: You're telling me that you want to give me $9k just because i'm a good citizen?

Guy: Yes, I'm from the US federal Grants Dept. in Washington D.C. at the Treasury Department-

Me: Right... 

 

 

Eventually I told him flat out that I didn't believe him, and he insisted I could call his senior account manager and they would be able to explain to me how I go about getting my grant money.

It was bad enough that he called the zero's "oh's", but when I learned his name was 'Peter Smith' I laughed out loud.

And while a tiny part of me wished  it was true as I imagined all the things you could do with $9,000 dollars, this was clearly a scam from "Hello".

 

 

Of course that didn't stop me from calling Peter's senior account manager, 'Jeff' who sounded like he was taking Skype calls from his kitchen.

Me: Hi I'm supposed to call you to collect my grant money?

Guy: Yes, what's your name

Me: Oh I have a code, USG505

Guy: Well I still need your name

Me: Ok... it's Anna

Guy: Is that A-N-A-H?

Me: Um... nope that's definitely not how you spell Anna

After a bit of back and forth, I called him out and told him that impersonating a Government Official was a Federal Offense. (Of course I don't really know if that's true or not, but it sounded good).

At this point 'Jeff' the senior accounts manage began yelling "I'M TRYING TO GIVE YOU MONEY!"

Yeah, see - that's where you went wrong Jeff. Every true American knows that the US Government isn't going to just give you money for being an upstanding citizen.

 

 

A quick google search of the "US Federal Grants Department" will yield a ton of scam articles, all warning you against giving any of your information to these kinds of callers.

Here is a great site from the FBI with tips and information on common fraud schemes

So, what should you do if Jeff or Peter from the "Federal Grant Department" call you? 

Hang up.