August 29, 2019: New variances of grant scams have been added and updated.
Scammers use websites that look like official government sites to attract people looking for small- and medium-sized business financing. These sites:
- Advertise "special access" to government funding programs
- May use Government of Canada logos and wordmarks and the Canadian flag
- May have official-sounding names
Part of the application may even request the draft of a business plan.
The site asks you to pay an upfront fee, either to receive a list of available grants or to complete the application. In some cases, the site may ask that you open a new business bank account to receive the money. Once you provide the details of the bank account, the scammers may use the account to launder money. You never receive any money.
Government grant and loan services are offered free of charge by government departments or agencies. No one can guarantee government grants and loans. Private sector companies are not involved in the approval process of government grants and loans.
Learn more about business grants and financing.
Government grant scam
Scammers use ads that state you may qualify for free money that you can spend on anything. You complete an application and receive confirmation that you qualify. To get the money, you need to pay an upfront fee. The more you pay, the more you'll get.
In a variation, one of your trusted friends contacts you via social media to tell you about a free grant they got from a government grant program. They encourage you to apply as well. Unfortunately, the messages are from a scammer who hacked your friend's account.
These grant offers are completely fake and no grant is ever received.
Weight loss grants
Scammers use ads for free weight loss grant programs to promise to pay most of the weight loss program's fee. After you submit an application, you receive a confirmation email stating that you qualify. Every applicant does.
The scammers refer you to a preferred vendor, where you'll need to pay an upfront program fee. You follow all the rules and lose the weight by the deadline. After requesting the promised grant, you receive no money.
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Competition Bureau of Canada
Ontario Provincial Police
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
Better Business Bureau
(BBB Locator Tool)
Fraud: Recognize, report and stop it!
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