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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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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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September 21, 2018
Same thing happened to me. An old friend, who I have know for over 20 years allegedly touched base with me to see how I was doing (not uncommon) and asked me if health and humanity services contacted me yet. When I asked about what, she said they gave her $100K that she didn't have to pay back. Then she wanted me to send a friend request to Sussan Smith (not a very clever fake name) to get the ball rolling. At that point I became suspicious and sent my friend a note to let her know.
January 14, 2019
this is the online claim agent cell number 205-800-8602 you can message them that i told you about the program and your are ready to apply.. Another number to add to the books of scams
February 27, 2019
my scammer used name of a friend, and proceeded to txt me about "gradient grant" & the huge amounts of money their friends received - at some point i was sent info to contact Agent Robert Murphy @ 8064640206 - all of this after midnight and they follow-up with insistent txts about contacting them. Amusingly they then send me a link to gradientgivesback. com/" Everyone, if it's too good to be true...
May 25, 2020

In reply to by denntn

I had the exact same thing happen to me
So sick of Scammers!
January 28, 2019
The 315-888-3020 number left a message on my phone saying that if I wanted my expected refund, I’d better call right away with information to verify it’s mine. Says the number/call originated from Marietta NY
Rene L.
March 02, 2019
I received two messages recently from people on my Messenger friends list claiming that my name was on a government Federal program list for money available to pay bills or buy a home the first one was the GFA or Global financial assistance. The message from my second so-called friend was for a federal program called the catalog of federal domestic assistance. I Googled both and found no such agencies exist
March 12, 2019
I don't have no money i need to pay my phone bill
Tired of scammers
March 15, 2019
I was just contacted by my “friend” on Facebook Messenger and encouraged to call this number: 1-657-204-5183 in order to see if I got my money from a large government grant that I did not ever apply for. It was all a scam. Beware.
April 05, 2019
I was contacted on FB, Messenger. Or rather I was talking to my ' friend' gene, that I do not know too well, but he is 80 so I do not think he is into scamming too much :) We chatted and I noticed that he kept calling me a different name - not too different ,but enough to raise my interest and in a kind way, I reminded him that is not actually my name - that xxxx was, no comment, but the next few messenges he used the correct spelling etc. He then ( he knows I've struggled) asked me if I'd heard about the IMF ? And that he had applied for a grant through them and recieved $177.000 and it helped them so much. His friend xxxx had helped him, through the process of application and the fee was $620 !! He kept saying, he'd tell her about me, he was sure she could help me. I raised my objections and questions right away, but he kept reassuring me, it was legit. He then told me to send his friend a message, and ask her to accept my friend request, he had contacted her about me, as she happend to be on FB still ( this was at 11 pm ). We all love the idea that maybe a little money will come our way ? But I was super sceptical , however I trusted ' Gene' so I thought , I'd follow through,to see what it was all about. I was directed to the page and it was a pretty official profile picture with the lady's credentials and work history - she was apparently a ' grant manager for IMF. I told her ( eventually) my name, address, phone and date of birth. SHE also kept referring to me with the incorrect spelling of my name - I corrected her twice. Then, although her English was fairly good, she messed up, a lot, and now my alerts were really on and I told my friend Gene how I felt ! His response was, if you trust me, trust I would never leave you astray ... I posted many questions to this lady That see didn't answer , or answered much in the same manner. I also noted on the second day, that her and ' Gene' were always on at the same time.. I decided to play along - wanted to make sure my gut was right. I looked up IMF, I looked up their grant procedure etc. This was almost matching what I'd been told and I lowered my guard a little. But could not shake the feeling of being lied to. Long, much longer story, short :) I simply said, no answers to my questions, no money Your pick ! It took FOREVER for this person to answer each question, and the English was just ' off'' I asked if she had an accent ( pretending to be totally committed to this ), and where was she from. I told myself perhaps English is not her first language - I literally tried to find an excuse for everything,not wanting to offend my friend Gene . She tells me Australia ..hmmmm an ENGLISH speaking country ? Lol On her FB page it says Tasmania ... Close enough I thought lol I'd use the late hour to excuse myself for bed, so we didn't get to the point of the transfer of money . I told her that I was committed to it now, but could not do a bank transfer till the next day. That's where I've left both her and Buddy Gene hanging. Once I was convinced, by more research, it was indeed a total scam ( too good to be true ...yup) - I decided to ' play nice', and since have not only written my story here, but reported it to different places, to make them aware. I am doing it, in hopes, that the can find info and perhaps catch some of these people. They don't care how they harm anyone,they need to be caught in the act. My friend Gene, has had his account ( and mine now ?) Hacked or he is in on this somehow...I will know tm, when I call him ;) The ' grant managers" name is Daine Wells. Not Diane . Becareful and let's report them, before they know they have been , I have all the info of the banking info, I was to send the money to, saving it to see if it's in any way helpful ! Wish me luck They are getting SO good these scam artists, it's scary. Thanks ! HK Canada
April 07, 2019
Hi, I received a Facebook ‘message’ from a friend - or was it? It said hi to me and how was I. I responded then when the answer came back that she was good and I knew she wasn’t, I stopped communicating. I then got another ‘Message’ saying she got $200K the same day she applied. I knew then wit was a scam! She’s sick and I have two incurable illnesses so this is something neither of us needed. It’s disgusting! So many scams happening now. A shame you can no longer trust anything!!
Texas PI
April 15, 2019
I'm in the process of goofing with one of the scammers as I type this... I got a message from FB from someone in Houston... He told me about the miraculous grants that don't have to be paid back! lol.. He hooked me up with the person that can help me with the "application" process... randyjohn694 at gmail... I'm just gonna see where it goes. I'm a licensed Private Investigator for Pete's sake... :-)
UK Katie
August 10, 2019

In reply to by Texas PI

I did the same thing and got bank details. Took me some time as they kept wanting me to go to a Bitcoin atm, but got it. Not sure how to proceed though I know a lot of people in banking so hoping this'll help!
Rockford ILL.D…
September 30, 2020

In reply to by Texas PI

Hi Texas I received 3 already on F.B. new friends LOL anyways all of them had diffrent web addresses for me to go to for the exact same goverment app. Today it was Wanda she received 100,000.00 she said go to AhentpeterAnderson yesterday it was David and the day before it was another ( she removed herself from my pg. when I told her that the site was a scam.) mfacebook claiming agent 105914591271394 anyway ALL scams and I am retired and live on a very tight buget so it's upsetting . Anyway thats my story
September 19, 2021

In reply to by Texas PI

I have that same thing today a lady wrote a blog saying she got help and gave me a number to call and a name so i texed him he wanted my drivers license and my gender and address i texed him and said how do i know this is legit .he texed me back saying this 100% legit i his name is reyes.i never texted my drivers license i feel this is a scam but i do need federal grant but i don't want to text my drivers license or social security number i wish i had real number to get federal assist
May 06, 2019
I got an inbox about an F.G.G grant the agent name was Dagmar Jordan claiming if you pay 450 and get 35,000,00 You Pay 750 and get 50,000,00. You pay 1,000 and get 100,000 etc.... The request was sent to me through Facebook from a friend of mine but I knew it wasn’t her from the get go. This person has been inboxing me from morning through night trying to get me to follow through. Number is 1-901-475-8105 SCAMMERS. Glad I’m not dumb or desperate for money
May 07, 2019
I received a message from a "friend" in messenger stating that He just received $250,000.00 cash delivered to his doorstep via UPS by making a single payment of $500.00 for insurance fee. The money supposedly comes from the Global Grant Fund Offer and that I can claim that offer too my calling the agent in charge at this number (304) 309-8404. I just researched further and my friend's messenger account was accessed using a Canada phone number . I know for a fact that my friend does not have a smart phone any longer and that He has not gone to Canada lately. I just blocked that messenger contact and reported to FB.
May 11, 2019
I received this info from a friend's wife on Facebook as a friend request..seemed real as he and I were friends, and they were newly married! We exchanged on Messenger small talk and then she told me about this "BCDP" or Better Community Development Program with all the so-called benefits..and that she had received $90,000 which did not have to be paid back!
February 11, 2021

In reply to by jsteve53

Same here, contacted through Facebook by a friend about the ggf. She claims it’s legit and she has already received her money and bought a house...I don’t know if it’s a scam or not; but if you have to pay $500 to get 150,000, then would it be a grant? Also I asked to speak to her boss. Her boss sent me videos of people thanking the ggf for their $150,000, claiming that the money helped their families tremendously.
Fire Witch
May 15, 2019
Yup...happened to me today. An acquaintance contacted me thru Messenger and started raving about the Global Fund Grant...and that she got $100,000 she did not have to pay back. As soon as a message came back that I should text their head office immediately (706) 707-4087 and let them know I am ready to "claim my winning Global Grant, and text them right now", I figured a scam for sure.
New York Girl 50
November 06, 2019

In reply to by Fire Witch

I also recieved a messenger text from a friend on Facebook who I hardly talk to. . . she told me she is doing well thanks to the GGF--"Global Grant Fund". She said she's made over $100,000 with free grant money from them that you don't have to pay back. She then said that she'll send me the link. I sent him my basic info, and he said that I would have to pay $500.00 to get $30,000 sent to my doorstep by ups or fedex or whatever. Now I see that the same name, "Global Grant Fund" is listed here. . . as a scam. Thank you to whoever had the courtesy to post your experience to save more people from being scammed. I also called my friend's phone number on FB and she never answered. That is pretty low, to hack a friend's account to pretend they are that friend so you begin to trust them. They don't care who they rob or steal from in the least.
May 16, 2019
More to the point, what does one do to get one's Face Book and/or computer cleared up from this intrusion?
Harry Hoffman
May 22, 2019
Jenn Lynn is the scammer she just tried to scam me!!
May 24, 2019
I just got a weird message today from someone on Facebook with whom I'd been conversing with on family history. We hadn't communicated since late fall of 2017. All of our message history was still intact and it was NOT a new friend request. This person asked if I knew about the IFC Grant? Different name, but same scam. Offer to pay hills, etc., I knew it wasn't her right away, based on our previous communication and the style in which the message was written; bad grammar, etc., and was obvious English was not this person's first language! As soon as I mentioned that it was a scam. I was blocked from further messaging and unfriended!! So yeah, whoever said that accounts cannot be hacked in the comments above, is inaccurate in their statement.
May 27, 2019
I was just contacted by someone acting as my mother through Facebook Messenger who reported getting a Grant from GGFO. My mother is very ill and does not need this stresss. I have reported this to many different agencies. Facebook is helping me to stop this. I just wanted to notify through comments on a public forum that this is still happening, and we should all be cautious when using social media and messaging apps.
May 29, 2019
I just received a message on Messenger from an acquaintance who had moved away over a year ago. Didn’t think anything about it until she started talking about the grant she just received. When I asked her to call me about it instead of messaging she gave an excuse about having an ear infection and couldn’t talk on the phone. I figured out it wasn’t really my acquaintance as I haven’t heard from her since she moved away, and why would she contact me about this after all this time!!!! So of course I googled $90k grant for seniors and it brought me to this page. I have blocked her, sent her an email letting her know she’d been hacked, notified Facebook of the problem and also posting her just to let you know the scam appeArs to be alive and still looming for victims. I hope they can find out who is behind this and prosecute them!!!!
June 15, 2019
I got a private message on Facebook from an acquaintance ("friend" I don't know well) telling me about Gradient Gives Back, which evidently is a real organization. BUT the stuff he was telling me sounded really fishy and not like what the GGB site says. What he was saying started to sound like a script, especially when I interrupted with questions. Then he gave me this phone number to text: 929-257-1174. NOW, GGR is in MINNESOTA, and this number is evidently a Brooklyn/Queens NY number! So I think someone was spoofing my friend's FB. Needless to say, I did NOT text that number!
Niecy Mae
June 15, 2019
I had someone pretending to be a friend reach out to me in FB messenger. It felt suspicious so I didn't give any details about how I knew them. I gave basic and generic responses to their responses and they did the same. I also could not view the profile from the messenger app on my phone and messenger said the profile was recently created. Just a side note. If someone connects with you on messenger on your phone and there's not a profile link you can click to from the messenger app. Then it's probably a fraud. Because if you are friends on FB you can go directly to their profile from the app. All this was a red flag. I felt it was a scam or something. A link was sent to me but I did not click it. I did not want my info compromised. I reported the profile to FB and ignored the conversation.
June 19, 2019
I just recv'd a message from FB waving their emoji hand like we were long lost friends, the name Sharon Oswald with a very nice pic of a lady. She asked how I was doing. I responded with vagueness because I do not know who she is. After some nice chit chat about the weather, she asks if I heard about the good news going around yet?? I responded no not yet what is it? They then told me about the federal government grant offer?? I said No. They said This program was establish by the federal government with the conjunction of world bank for the people who need for there needs ut online program. I said I don't know anything about it. They say Oh really , Am very happy cos i apply with$2000 and get 10,000 delivery at my doorstep I asked where is the site to visit it. They say Do you know how to apply? Have you heard of david Williams He is the person who help me to claim for the grant money and he is a very honset man This is exactly how they wrote their info, nothing capitalized or spelled right , punctuation not always there. I know this is a scam and they are still trying to reach me right now. BE CAREFUL PEOPLE they make it sound like you know them. Let your friends and family know.
I Can See You Too
June 20, 2019
Just received a message from a friend in BC Canada on Messenger telling me he received 175,000.00 and he will send me info and the agents name/contact info. I'm glad I'm a suspicious person and checked out this site. The text number they sent is 925-494-1458. Canadians beware of this scam! They have resurfaced as the other comments are a few years old
June 24, 2019
I partway fell for this and now they have my driver photo information is there anything i can or should do to stop this?
FTC Staff
June 26, 2019

In reply to by Ayala

A scammer could use the information from your driver's license for identity theft. The FTC has tips about what to do if your license was lost or exposed to a scammer on

June 29, 2019
I think I might be in the same situation. Agent Williams James (602)-726-0483. And my friend's account might have been hacked. What can I do?? $500 for a $300,000 "prize".
July 15, 2019
I'm writing because I blocked a scammer an some how he keep reaching out to me with different numbers. He call himself Christopher Roberts he say he is from IMF PRIZE AWARD WINNING I DON'T KNOW HOW TO MAKE THEM STOP IT'S VERY STRESSFUL YES I MIGHT BE IN A LITTLE DEBT BUT I DON'T NEED ANYONE TAKING MY HARD EARNED MONEY FROM ME.. THANK YOU
July 17, 2019
I also got this scam thrust FB today and told me to call attorney on this number 314-222-2252 and let him know that I have you the number and you will like to apply for the grant too. Wish you best of luck and keep in touch...
January 24, 2020
I was contacted by a friend on my fab and contact was Nancy William My contact texted me backing saying who paid 3400.00 and got grant for 50 k I contacted my friend And it was not sane message Her picture and her name but different messages popped up. Glad o gave them fake info She said I qualified for 50 free grant Beware !!!!!!!
August 07, 2019
This lady had perfered me to this lady saying that she help you with your bills but she had to pay a fee to get the money $500 dollars and they would ship her money through UPS that sound like a scam to me
August 07, 2019
This woman name is Russo misty dawn ph. Number 205 433 7935 she suppose to be some kinda federal grant that help people but one thing i was curious about she said i had to pay a $500 fee sound like a scam to me
August 12, 2019
I received a message from a relative saying that she received $20K from a gradient grant. She said to contact AG John Mcelhaney phone number to process the application process. The delivery fee for $20K is $360.00 to be deposited in my bank (red flag). I did give them my savings account information in which there is no money. I am going to call my bank in the morning and the credit unions for fraud alerts. The AG died in 1983 and has no part in the World Bank. The phone number I was given was 503-898-0243. While I was asking questions to this unknown entity, I was also speaking with my Aunt, who became rather rude. She said just give them the information and trust in God. So beware even relatives can be part of a scam whether knowing or unknowing. Tomorrow is going to be a headache of my own making.
January 07, 2021

In reply to by Jan

It wasn’t your Aunt. Someone hacked her account/number. People are capable of doing crazy things. I just didn’t want you to think your Aunt actually tried to scam you because I’m sure she knew nothing about it happening.
August 19, 2019
Same thing, texts thru FB Messenger, using the name of the real friend. I went to the friend's page and messaged her from there (which appeared a totally different log of texts). The fake friend suggested I call Bonnie at (937) 735-0899
September 07, 2019
Same thing here,someone cloned my messenger, three of my friends told me and reported it, unfortunately my cousin who just had a stroke thought it was me, did just as he was told, he fell for it all and now he's out over $2000, the name the person used to him was Donald Urban Kavanaugh 817-213-6987, I'm just going to search my name on messenger from time to time, it got reported to facebook 6 times, three by me, before it got deleted
September 17, 2019
Individual Grant Program at Facebook is offering this a scam?
January 24, 2020
So, they hacked my cousin’s Facebook, used her photo + and messaged me about this Global free money thing. I was suspicious from the get-go...asked some personal questions they wouldn’t answer then they wanted me to contact...David Zico. m. me/ DAVID ZICO 0231 Hope you FTC people track these people down. I will be contacting FB!
Codeine creamer
September 19, 2019
Williams Henry was the scammer name who was going to get me 30,000 dollars for 350.00. He wanted me to purchase 3 100.00 and 1 50.00 card. Then scratch the back off and send a picture. After that I was guaranteed the money. He used a young lady I know messenger to try to get me. I let him know I am not a fool.
September 23, 2019
I had a coworker saying her aunt contacted her and told her to contact Agent Robert James. His phone number is (631)414-2417. This agent is supposed to give you a grant. He told my coworker that she is going to get $105,000 she just first needs to pay an $1500 for insurance.
September 26, 2019
Just had a call from Agent James Walker from the federal Government saying I won a Government lottery drawing. Lol it's funny because He kept calling me Merle and That's not my real name just a nickname and I've never signed anything with the name merle on it! 214 306 0228 scam
October 07, 2019
My cousin’s FB messenger was hacked. I got a message from her hacked message accounts asking me to contact an attorney for an IDA grant. The message went out to all her contact ‘s . I double checked with her sister and she was hacked. They asking for $500 to $40,000 up front to get grants from the government. Beware
scammed madiso…
October 10, 2019
I was just scammed through facebook messenger. An message came through from a friend and she gave me a link. I followed it and gave all personal info. At then I questioned something and the response came back suspicious so I called my friend. Found out she did not send it. Called the police but they were not interested. I have tried to contact facebook but can't figure out how to get through. They have my email, address, work info, mother's name and more. What can I do now?
October 16, 2019
Just got a Facebook messenger text from someone possibly hacked into my friend's account and try to get me to click on the link to check out this GGF. The link provided was "". I did not click on it. I texted back that this is a scam and that this person texting me is possibly a hacker. I blocked my friend's messenger account.