Company's offer of federal grant money is a scam

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PHOENIX -- 3 On Your Side has a warning about something quite a few people are getting in the mail.

Folks are getting a notice saying they qualify for federal grant money.

Think about this for a minute. You have the federal stimulus money that was approved and the Cash for Clunkers program that helps you get rid of your old car, so when it comes to federal grant money, why not? It sounds logical, but be careful.

Kevin Lowery has big dreams of being a singer.

"I'm just writing my music and I'm looking to do something with it," Lowery said.

But doing something with it isn't cheap.

However, he thought his problems were solved when he got a notice from G.F. Institute, saying they could get him a $25,000 government grant.

"I got excited," he said. "I jumped up and down a little bit."

So, Lowery called the number to G.F. Institute and he was somewhat disappointed because in order to get that $25,000 grant, he had to pay them money. In fact, a $65 fee.

"I called and they were talking about a fee," Lowery said. "I just dropped sad."

According to the Better Business Bureau, G.F. Institute has an F rating.

Not only that, but the Federal Trade Commission and the states of Kansas, Minnesota and North Carolina are all suing G.F. Institute for what they say is "false, deceptive, and misleading" mailings by the company.

Lowery, no doubt, is somewhat let down.

"The $25,000, you can do anything with it, like take my family to Disneyland, on a trip or anything," he said. "It's very tempting for me."

But knowing what he knows now, Lowery says he feels a little better.

He's not out $65 and he's not left singing the blues.

"It makes me upset," Lowery said. "My family is going through hard times and I am too and so I can really use the money."

Always be suspicious if you ever get a phone call or a piece of mail saying you have access to money. Most likely it will be a scam.