Scamwatch is warning Australian consumers and small businesses to take extra care when seeking government grants and to be suspicious of unsolicited offers of money in the form of government grants.
If you are looking for grants to support or start a business be cautious of websites offering access to databases of government grants for a fee. These websites often give the impression they have government affiliation by using prominently-placed official logos, links to genuine government websites and photos of well-known Australians or landmarks.
However, the fees charged by such sites are unnecessary because this information is made available for free on government websites. Reports to Scamwatch also indicate that even if you pay the fee, you may find that there is no grant available for your business.
Legitimate information about government grants can be obtained for free at www.business.gov.au and other websites ending with .gov.au.
Consumers and small businesses also need to be cautious of phone calls claiming you are entitled to a grant in return for an upfront fee. Scammers may claim to be from a fake government department and offer you thousands of dollars because of a recent change to government policy. Sometimes the scammers have already obtained a few of your personal details such as name and address which they will use during the call to make it seem legitimate. However, to claim the money you must first pay an “administration” fee usually via wire transfer. If you pay, the scammers will make up excuses for why you need to send more.