Phone scammers try to scam the I-Team

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
How would you like $10,200 deposited into your checking account? It can be an irresistible offer for someone told it's "grant money" from the government.

ABC7 consumer investigative reporter Jason Knowles received that offer on the phone and it was all caught on video.

The scammer told Knowles that he would get the government grant money because he was a good citizen who paid his bills. And getting that money would be easy, said the caller, who identified himself as being from the U.S. government and agreed to be recorded.

"It's your money. It's your choice. You can use this money, whatever you want," the caller said. "It unfortunately comes once in your lifetime."

Knowles just had to turn over his checking account information, they said.

CALLER: Your name and telephone number has randomly selected by the United States government to receive free grant money, $10,200 which you don't need to pay back again to the government. Or you don't need to pay tax on this grant money, OK?
JASON KNOWLES: OK, how do I get the grant money?
CALLER: Yes, first of all, do you know why you are receiving this free grant money?
JK: No. Why?
CALLER: OK, so let me explain it to you. Government selects around 1,700 citizens, including you, because, according to your files, you don't have a criminal record, you pay the bill in advance of a lifetime and you don't file any bankruptcy for the last six months, right?"

However, the Federal Trade Commission said the government will never call to offer you a grant, unless you've applied with a legitimate agency for educational, community or medical research money.

This caller, who may be using spoofing technology to appear as though he's calling from New York City, told Knowles that there are several ways for to get my money. The first involves sending a smaller amount.

JK: So I am going to send them money and they are going to send me $10,000?
CALLER: Yes. You can receive your grant money from the Western Union, Money Gram, Walmart store or in form of cash or you can receive the money on any plastic card.

The caller wanted Knowles to give him his check card number or checking account number so he could supposedly deposit that cash directly onto my card or in my checking account. The FTC said it's a ruse to steal my account information

CALLER: If you want to receive your money on your bank account, we are going to transfer your money on your bank account, OK?
JK: OK, thanks.
CALLER: You're welcome. So you want to receive your money on your bank account?
JK: Yeah.
CALLER: OK, saving account or checking account.
JK: Checking account
CALLER: Checking. OK, and can you give me your checking account number?

JASON: Oh, OK, you want my checking account number?
CALLER: Yes for your money transaction, OK?

Knowles did not give out his account number. If he had, experts said the scammer would have drained his account.

Anyone who receives a similar call should just hang up, experts said.

To file a scam report go to or call 1-877-FTC HELP.

For more on legitimate grants, visit:
For more on how grant scams work, visit:

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There's a new warning about what's known as the grant scam, which federal authorities call "popular" and "persistent."

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