Online fake offers of grants and similar scams are widespread across the NGO sector around the world. With so much information reaching them from all sides, it is often difficult for NGOs to identify the genuine grant offers from the fake ones.
Below, we are providing important tips that NGOs can use to identify whether a piece of certain grant information is genuine or not.
All Grant Programs have an Application Process. Did you apply for it before getting the Grant?
- If you receive an unexpected email in your inbox, informing that you have been selected to receive a grant or an award by a foreign agency, you should first sit back and think if you really applied for it or did you ever contact this agency.
- All genuine grants, awards, scholarships or fellowship programs have an application process where you need to submit your details and wait for their response – a long and time-consuming process you need to go through before getting considered for a grant.
- No genuine donor agency in the world will ever land up with a financial offer in your email inbox without asking for an application from you. If you have not applied for it, it is clear that you are being targeted by online fraudsters.
Genuine Donor Agencies will not charge money from youDonor agencies will not charge money from NGOs.
- Please think – Donor agencies are well-funded and well-established institutions existing to provide funding for your work – why would they want to charge money from you? In fact, it is illegal for donor agencies to collect money from their beneficiaries.
- If you receive a grant or scholarship offer and the “grant-maker” tells you that you need to pay some amount of money before you can receive this grant, then it clearly means that it is a fraud. No genuine donor agency will ever ask money from NGOs.
Check the Message and the Donor Website
The email, post or text message of a fake grant or scholarship has several signs that clearly give the indication that it is a scam.
- First of all, look out whether your name or the name of your organization has been mentioned in the “grant offer” email message.
- Fraudsters only have email addresses and they send out millions of messages hoping that some of them will respond back and a few of them will end up paying money for them. That is why, they usually address you as “Dear User,” “Dear Member,” “Dear Friend” or “Dear Organization.”
- Fraudsters do not know you until you respond back. You can now analyze this situation very well. If a donor agency does not know you by your name or the name of your organization, why do you think they will provide funding to you?
- Secondly, these messages are composed and sent through software programs and they are likely to have silly grammatical errors.
- Next, you can check the website of the donor agency. Most donor agencies around the world have websites and these websites are usually SSL-enabled (What is SSL?). You can check out their security certificates.
- Then, as you scan through the webpages of this donor agency, you need to check if they have really announced a grant program that you received in your email inbox. Donor agencies publicly announce grant programs and request proper project proposals from NGOs.
- If you are unable to match the information about the “grant offer” with the one on the donor website, then it may be a scam.
- Lastly, check out the email address from which you received the “grant offer” email message. It will always be a suspicious email address and it will never be associated with the donor agency’s official email address. Even if it is, as in some rare cases, the “Reply-To” email address will always be different, belonging to a different email address.