Grant scam can cost businesses big money

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Starting up a new business can be tough and saying no to people offering to help get you start-up money can be even tougher.

Lisa Cooley still can’t believe she was duped by a couple claiming they could help her secure a grant for her business.

“I was new to real estate and we needed some money lenders and they were going to write us a grant to help us out and we thought… let’s go for it,” she recalled.

Cooley met the so-called grant writers at conferences and conventions she was attending.  For $30,000 they would help her secure a $1 million grant to invest in her real estate business. But it turns out, they were not legitimate.

“You believe these people. They were real and you see they have documents, with us, letters people I called,” said Cooley. I found out later that the people I called as referrals were her daughter.”

Cooley and her husband lost half of their retirement savings.

Postal inspectors say research is the key to any investment and make sure to background check their credentials.

Another scam to be aware of: callers who claim to be with the U.S. government and say that you have been awarded a grant. After confirming your name and mailing address, the caller asks for the name of your bank, routing number and account number in order to withdraw a “processing fee.”

There is no grant and once the thieves have your info, they can get your money.

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