Ken Paxton
Consumer Protection

"Government Grant" is a Scam

My office has received reports of telemarketers who pose as government officials offering "grants" - free money for educational expenses. Please be aware that there is no legitimate local, state, or federal government program of this kind. Just hang up.

Federal assistance for educational expenses such as college tuition generally takes the form of student loans. Read about real opportunities available through the US Department of Education at In any case, government assistance is only available through an application process. Be assured that real government agents do not call people in their homes and offer money.

The dead giveaway to a scam is the fact that the scammer holds out an offer of money - and then asks you to part with some of yours. People who receive government assistance DO NOT PAY MONEY UP FRONT. And that is my advice to you: DO NOT PAY MONEY UP FRONT to anyone who calls you at home. You will lose it.

ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.

Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.