Beware of fraudsters who say you have been awarded a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but they need an upfront fee. HUD will never email or call to “award” you money.
HUD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has received complaints about fraudsters using the same scam to trick their targets into sending them “fees” to so they can process grants for thousands of dollars. While the same phone number is being used, that is likely to change over time. Examples of the fraud are:
- January 5, 2016, a woman in California was a victim of an attempted scam when a person called her, claiming she had been awarded a $51,400 federal grant. All she needed to do was fax a copy of her identification to receive the money. The woman asked for the caller’s credentials and the caller provided her with the NY HUD Regional Office’s address. The caller went by Matthew Maxwell and gave his number as 315-675-4146 x120.
- March 22, 2016, a woman in Virginia was a victim of an attempted scam when a person called her, claiming she had been awarded a $48,450 federal grant. All she needed to do was send a $350 wire or certified check to cover fees. The caller went by Richard Johnson and gave his number as 315-675-4146 and reportedly had a foreign accent. The woman did not follow through.
- May 26, 2016, a law firm representing a woman from Washington, DC, reported a woman had been scammed when a person called her, claiming she had been awarded a $48,500 grant. All the victim needed to do was wire $350 to them, using Western Union. After the victim sent funds she did not get her $48,500 in exchange. The caller went by Alice and her number was 315-675-4146.
- On May 27, 2016, a man in California was the victim of an attempted scam, when someone claiming that to be from HUD called and instructed them to call back at 315-675-4146.
- Do Not: Take or return phone calls from 315-675-4146. Hang up on them.
- Do Not: Give identify information by fax or over the phone to anyone offering you a grant.
- Do Not: Wire funds to cover the “fees” for the federal grant.
- Do: File a report on OIG’s Web site (https://www.hudoig.gov/report-fraud) or call the appropriate Special Agent in Charge in the Office of Investigation (https://www.hudoig.gov/about/where-were-located).