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Have you heard about a government program that will pay your monthly bills for an up-front payment or processing fee? Here’s a short version of the rest of this post: It’s a scam. Don’t do it.

We’ve heard that this scam is happening in some African-American church communities: people approach church-goers with this so-called deal. And, because it comes up in church, the scam might seem like it could be legit. But take it from me – and the FTC: there is no federal program that pays your monthly bills in exchange for payment of any kind.

What really happens if you pay these scammers? They look real for a minute because they “pay your bills” electronically – but then they cancel the payment. You think your bill is paid, but you’re stuck with not only the original bill, but also a late fee because your payment wasn’t actually processed. And now the scammers have your bank or credit information. Doesn’t sound like much of a deal at all.

If you need help paying bills, or know someone who does, there are some legitimate government sites that can connect you with programs that help with things like medical bills and energy services for people who are eligible. But they won’t ask you to pay them. Also check out how to make a budget or find a credit counselor who can help you manage your money.

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January 30, 2017

In reply to by Askin

is the phone number 702 514-9524 I think this is who you are talking about.
February 06, 2017

In reply to by Askin

I had a text from 703-574-7358 saying Congratulation. Joe Howard Howard fromm the Federal Government Support Program in conjuction with the powerball lotte gotten my money ... am I ready to claim my winning money I had to fill out this form first, send them money and wait for 7 hours for them to send me my money.
February 14, 2017

In reply to by Askin



FTC Staff
February 14, 2017

In reply to by MSMARY

If you used Western Union to send money to a scammer, you can report it to Western Union’s complaint department at 1-800-448-1492 or online.

Make a note of the date you filed the complaint with Western Union. Be sure to keep any documents you have about the scam and the money transfer.

Almost had me
January 28, 2017
I just received a call requesting 260.00 western union. They said they worked for the gov. And I would receive 14,000 dollars from the federal stimulus 2009 pact. Careful. He went by the name Jason smith his phone# 1-888-882-9624 x3021
January 31, 2017
I just received a call from someone telling me they were calling from the US Govt and that I had been one of the few 1700 selected to receive a $7000 grant to use for whatever I wanted. I immediately told her it was a scam and she reassured me it wasn't. She then proceeded to give me a Grant approval # of AL005 and told me that I needed to call her Senior Accountant directly at 315-888-3020 and his name was Gary Quinn. I explained that I did not have long distance on my phone so I could not call him. She asked me to hold and then came back on the line and said she was going to transfer me to Gary. Gary said I was chosen because I was never late with my student loan payments and I had no criminal background. I asked him to explain what I needed to do. He instructed me to go to the nearest money gram store and provide them with my ID, a cell phone number and then told me I would have to pay a fee of $250 that was "refundable". As soon as he said I had to pay $250 I interrupted him and said, "hold on, why am I having to pay for something that I'm supposedly getting for free. you told me it was free money, so why do I have to pay for it? I did not wait on a response and I immediately disconnected the call.
January 31, 2017
I just received a call from a person stating she worked for the government and that I had been randomly selected to receive $7000 grant to use on anything I wanted. She provided a Grant approval number and then said I needed to call her Senior Accountant, Gary Quinn at 315-888-3020. I explained that I did not have long distance capabilities so she placed me on hold, then came back on the line and transferred me to Gary. He told me I needed to go to the nearest Money Gram store and provide the Grant approval # along with my ID, a cell phone number and pay a refundable $250 fee in order for them to release the $7000. I immediately disconnected the call.
March 10, 2017

In reply to by Lisa

They said Federal Govenment with me. I didn't have any questions to answer etc. but I turned the info should I have ??? Told her I was reporting her to the FTC and repeated the number back. Watch out for: 254-245-1992
January 31, 2017
Don't pickup if the number is not a number you know . Let the call go to voice mail . Buy a phone that has voice mail and call blocking .
Montague NJ
February 01, 2017
received a call from 202-568-5894 Washington DC Dept of Grants and I received a grant gift of 9000 and to do what i would like. He had an indian eastern Indian voice and hung up after I asked him a few questions.. like how did I?
February 02, 2017
Just had something similar to this today 2017-1-2. His name is Larryz Battenz. He messages you saying you won a government grant for $50,000. I am not stupid when it comes to scammers. He wants you to pay $1,000 to receive it via Fed Ex. Do not fall for this people.. Thank you for your time.
Susan A
February 06, 2017

I have just received an email from a friend who told me about a grant from the IMF? to pay bills for retired people. I clicked on the site:   .facebook. com/ onlineagentaccess  / and it looks like a real facebook page. Stupidly, I sent them personal info but not a ssa # or financial info. Just my mother's name, my address, age, dob, phone, my full name. And i got into an argument with the "agent" about it being a scam, and I accused my fake FB friend of not being the real friend. The fake friend argued with me too. Am I in danger of identity theft?

FTC Staff
February 06, 2017

In reply to by Susan A

It's good that you didn't share your Social Security number or financial information, but when you give any personal information to a scam site, there's a risk that a scammer will get it and use it.

Here are some warning signs of identity theft. If these things happen to you, go to to report identity theft and get a personal recovery plan.

September 14, 2019

In reply to by Susan A

What happened with this please I'm being a tax right now through a church friend of my mother's and I gave the same information and they keep telling me that they're legit please I need more info and what happened after you went that far anything ever happen?
Susan A
February 08, 2017
Ms. Small: thank you for the helpful response to my question.
February 17, 2017
About 3 weeks ago, I got a call from someone stating that I had missed a "jury duty" something, and that if I did not pay a fine IMMEDIATELY that the police would come to my house and arrest me. I told them to come and get me then. Click...dial tone. To funny.
February 17, 2017
I'd like to report a government grant scam. The Caller states that you've been selected randomly from a recent survey of those hard working americans who pay their bills on time, have no criminal record, and no bankruptcy history. They then give you an amount you'll be receiving ($8,500), an ID# and lastly a phone # to call and speak with their management department. You are then supposed to call and give your bank or credit card information in order for them to wire or direct deposit the grant money for you. DO NOT give any information . . . EVER. numbers they are calling from include but are not limited to: 654347656, 949-201-2330, 469-646-4425, 779-252-0013, 904-606-8013, 614-473-4037, 610-296-4343, 757-410-9406, 361-317-3253, 321-622-3099, 786-204-4358, 502-519-3019
Tim I
February 17, 2017
Just got a phone call today from one. They called my wife, trying to pull this one. She gave me the phone and I requested that they identify themselves and the government entity they work for. They refused and I immediately hung up. The number came across as a Washington DC number - (202)564-8586. I reverse traced the number and it came up as a Verizon Wireless landline number coming from someplace on Vermont St NW.
February 20, 2017
I received a message supposedly from my cousin saying she recd money from the government told me to text this number and give them information such mothers maiden name and next of kin. I was ok with until they asked for money then I knew it was a scam. They couldn't give me family info. They wanted my bank info to loan me money. Anyway I just wanted let someone know.
February 20, 2017
The phone number and names were William Henry and Kevin G Hebert Dothan,Alabama and pH #539-302-5811
February 22, 2017
Same here. Today I received a call (866) 283-5597 calling herself Mrs. Wilson wanting to discuss ways to reduce my supply charges on my electric account. Saying she has my account statement with her and to call her at (609) 232-8394! Scam!!!
February 27, 2017
Government Grant for $9,000.00 MoneyGram to me first I had to purchase $100 iTunes gift card
March 08, 2017

In reply to by Paige419

Yes that happen to me all so but I was told to get 240.00 ITunes gift card for a Government Grant for $9000.00. I did ask question they said because hadn't had file bankruptcy. Kept asking if it was legit. I having gotten several call one 7,000.00 and 14,500.00.
March 26, 2017

In reply to by Paige419

Government grant for $9,000 western union to me first i had to purchase $100 itune vift r Card after that i wass tall to call a second number he tall me to purchase $700 itune card and i did but now he whant me to pay up "1,200 itune cards that when i knew i was scam
March 06, 2017
Here are the numbers I'm receiving phone calls from:202-444-4444, 404-455-9111, 630-516-0000, 415-932-0668, 206-596-0886, 305-912-5965, 415-932-0668, 202-123-4512415-363-9732. Numerous of variety with 415 area code. Some unknown numbers, meaning no number to track down. Every day few calls a day. sometime early morning or late evening calls. Also text msgs with my name and address and the links to some websites. Ugh this is so annoying...
March 08, 2017

I received calls from Washington DC, Georgia and Oregon on 3/6/17. These are the numbers: 404-462-2503 202-683-2142 541-780-0062 Twice I talked to David from different numbers. He wanted to argue when I told him it was a scam. Already reported to FTC and FBI

March 09, 2017
I just had this same scam today but I tubes card 250.00 and receiver of 9,800.00 reported their bottoms to identity theft and federal Registery. Hope they get caught. Number 202-670-0255 ext.1025 address 200 inference ave. Washington d.c. 20201 hhs building names and I'd numbers report made...
March 09, 2017
I just had this same scam today but I tubes card 250.00 and receiver of 9,800.00 reported their bottoms to identity theft and federal Registery. Hope they get caught. Number 202-670-0255 ext.1025 address 200 inference ave. Washington d.c. 20201 hhs building names and I'd numbers report made...
March 22, 2017
I received a message from a friend that said agent william craig fugate will help me get a grant for free. I eally was going to consider this until it started sounding fishy. He became upset when i told him I couldn't do anything until morning. Don't fall for it.
April 17, 2017
Got a call today 4/17/2017 Received a messgae from a Facebook friend pushing me to get this government grant. "Henry Williams" is the name of the agent and his phone number is 520-253-3697 He also said to make the check out to "David Alan Coryell" These hackers are getting good. Be careful out there everyone!
Juggling For A Cure
April 21, 2017
My company, Juggling For A Cure, received following call. Automated voice said Michelle with Accounts Services. Have been getting numerous calls from company using various phone numbers with different area codes. My phone number has been on the Do Not Call List since 2007.
April 26, 2017
I was just scammed on Easter Sunday. I am out $1000.00 the name was Trevor Walker in California. They hacked my friends messenger account. The phone number they texted me from was (409)263-0165. What's really sick is I make $10.25 an hr and barely get by.
April 27, 2017
I just received a phone call 2 days ago telling me the government was giving me some grant money that did not have to be paid back. He told me to go to Wal Mart . When I got to Wal Mart give him a call and he would tell me what to do. It would cost me $250.00 . I would need to put this on my credit card. His name was John Spencer, telephone number 676-6410 and the ID number for this transaction was GIA21264. I don't believe his name was John Spencer because he had an accent like someone from the holy land. I could hardly understand him. I finally hung up on him.
May 03, 2017
I need help paying my bills can you help me
Not Fooled By …
May 04, 2017
This is still happening. It just happened to my elderly parents. Name is Ven Johnson phone # 305-563-5764
June 08, 2017
Thank you all so much for sharing! I received a call today for an anonymous number but I was told to call Ms. Cindy at 315-888-3020. I got no answer on the first two tries. On the 3rd try a man answered like he wasn't sure what I was calling about. I only gave him the information they had given me which was a Money ID#. Then I had to hold for 5 min for Ms. Cindy. She did ask me when I received the call but then she went on to explain about the activation fee of $250.00 for them to wire me $7,000.00 but I would get the $250.00 back with the $7,000.00 wire. LIES & Deceit!!!!!!!! Don't do it!!!! Hang up that phone!!!!!!
bucket A
July 28, 2017
I, got a call today 7/28/17 at 12:49 pm phone # 914-632-9530. To inform me I, was chosen for a US GOV. GRANT for school or whatever I, wanted to use this money for the Amount was 9,750.00 then he gives me a ID confirmatiom # An, two phone numbers to call after we end call. I, called 1st#845-247-6372 no answer 2nd # 854-875-3018 got connected. sounded like the same background noise as the 1st call to my home phone. This person was suppose to confirm my id # and then send this 9,750.00 by check to my address , I,could have it sent by western union or mailed to me I said mail it confirmed address, zip code an first&last name no bank info o ssn involved or related. BUT WANTED ME TO OBTAIN A SIM CARD AND BAL IN IT HAD TO HAVE BAL. OF 200.OO FOR ME TO GET THE 9,750.00. I, told him thats not what i was told by the person who gave me this phone number and I, was not committing to anything other than what I,was told by him. said forget it and I ended Call, hung up!
February 27, 2018

is this guy a scammer on federal grants, he said send him 500$ he will get a federal grant of $50,000 in 6 hours really have you heard of him on facebook calls himself Robert James

Account Settings Cover Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, crowd and indoor Robert James Add FriendMessage Timeline About Friends Photos More Robert James's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing and suit

March 13, 2018
I have a similar complaint against global grant funds offer. I sent them $6,500 in return for a payment to me of 650,000! The money never arrived and instead they told me that the fire department in Alabama is holiding the funds hostage for a payment of $19,500! They say that the fire department saved the ups shipment from biting during an accident on March 8th in which a person supposedly died! It is a total sca scam! Do not send any money to them for you too will be out the money with no recourse!
FTC Staff
March 14, 2018

In reply to by mzemba

You can report this to the FTC at You can provide information about the company, what it promised, and what you received. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

April 09, 2018
‭+1 (832) 608-7185‬ William Henry The girl said that he works with a program called “IFC” and it’s a private grant program that help her with a 10,000 dollar grant ...
December 01, 2018

In reply to by skully

(234)405-3826 - He also has another number too. Someone from my ig account just reached out to me also. This is someone who I haven’t spoken to in years. So I know it was a scam. But here is the number she gave me
April 19, 2018
They are using Instagram now they were using a friend of mind profile I knew it wasn't him right a way because of the way they were talking but it was the same thing agent Mara Williams told me I can get a grant from the federal government for 10,000 if I pay $500 for delivery fee... Really!!!
June 12, 2018
My friend recently contacted me on fb messenger asking if I had heard the good news..I replied "what good news". He then went on how fpwa grants are being given out and he received 70K in the form of a check for only paying for the tax and fees. He wrote that he spent 1K to receive 70 and not have to pay anything back...he is a church going married man whom I trust so I was only a little interested because who was giving me this information. He then wrote who I needed to contact. His name was William James. Fpwa apparently stands for Federal Prodestant Welfare Agency. I decided to text the number he gave me just out of curiosity even though I felt in my gut that it was too good to be true. Once I texted inquiring about the program I immediately recieved a text asking for my information and if I'm ready to be awarded my federal grant. Another text saying that I can receive up to 900K but just have to pay 1% fee. Right then I could definitely tell that this was a scam. How could this not be known to receive that amount of money and no one is talking about it? After I didn't respond I kept getting subtle persistent texts asking when I can send the money and awaiting my quick response. I said I don't have enough and need all the money that I make. They text back asking how much I was short. Just to entertain myself at this point I said I would be able to come up with 500 within a week...sure enough I get a text in less than a week asking if I came up with the money and how much I needed if not. These people are good at manipulating people by first posing as a friend of yours to gain your trust. They hope you may not be in touch with some other way with this person they are pretending to be. So they pretend to be a legit program that is looking out for your best interest. All the while scamming good American citizens. Who knows how many people actually fall for this. They do it so many ways. I'm sure a lot know of all of the Nigerian pastor scams by now I hope. I had a friend that lost 1,000 to a Nigerian posing as someone that was renting a house on Craigslist. He claimed he was out of the country but would send the paper work and keys to property once a deposit was sent to him. Its just said that these scams exist and people fall victim to them every day.
June 09, 2018
I got a message on IG from a friend saying she got a grant for $40,000. When looking back on her messages it doesn't really sound like her and why pin point me of all people...we don't talk much
July 28, 2018
any one heard of Gradient Grant offering free monies or a contact name of George Helms phone number 9723647510?? Is this legitimate ?
August 15, 2018
I received a FB friend request from a former colleague and thought it was fishy when I accepted it because she had almost no information on her FB page and I IMMEDIATELY received a FB Messenger message. The person didn't respond to my questions and started telling me about a Global Grant Fund from which she received $100K and paid all of her bills. The number she said to call was 3127572896. Needless to say, I unfriended her, reported her messages as spam and blocked further messages. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY A SCAM!
Doprotogon't u…
August 15, 2018
I received a face book mes fr a Betty Waters telling me about a grant program FGMA and a contact att Greg Michael 405 296 0076 and contacted him and qualified for up to 400,000$ the shipping fee to receive the money ranged from 500$ to 2700$ and was to be sent to Tasha M Rhodes Euharlee Rd. Georgia 30145
August 27, 2018
I need to know how to help get a friend's name off the scammer list. She deleted her messenger from iPhone last week and I got a message from her today. I texted the number she gave me to collect money. I contacted the person then had a conversation with my friend. It did not take long to figure out her message account was being used by people who could not complete a grammatically complete sentence. How do I help her get her information out of the hands of the frauds?