on 28-03-2013 07:21 PM
Starting up a business is both exciting and scary...among many other things and a huge challenge a lot of us face is coping on low finances, either being jobless or just needing the money to advance your business. You may have already received some funding or seen others receive funding and are eager to get in on it. Well it seems scammers have also seen this as a window of opportunity and it is sad as it has clearly worked for them to have try and make it seem so professional. ie 0800 number, registered business etc.
The company I am about to discuss my personal occurrence with I have already reported to Action Fraud...hopefully they don't just pass it by but it is blogs and what not that make people aware and show up in search engines! I'd like to say luckily my instincts kicked in so no money was lost....
Also www.ukbusinessgrants.org.uk (it redirects to the above) are not to be trusted.
I should have known it was shady since they messaged me first...and from the contact page on my website. I can only gather that they found me under the new listings on Yell.com / Hibu -shady.
So I applied....I got an email and a call stating I would more than likely be eligible for 1 of 2 grants. A start-up one of between £1500.00 - £5,500.00
or a Marketing one of between £1,500.00 - £9,500.00
And they would be sending my application off to....some government body.
The next email/call I got again came at an odd time in the night saying that I had been "100% Approved" And there is loads of paperwork that needs doing, that the loan typically arrives within 3-6months, but rest assured I am 100% approved for the Marketing grant of upto £9,500.
"Yesss!!!! Mum.....Sis......good news!!" -___-
They followed up with a call the next day reiterating the email then with no hesitance, out of no where.... (sorry the contact I had had up until now was a man called Peter Davis)
"so I am going to pass you through to my colleague who will take some direct debit details...we never ask you for card details bla bla bla" Trying his best to make it seem safe and authentic right.
That's when it clicked....on the website they did mention some admin fees as they supposedly the middle men, but it also mentioned retrieving these funds when the loan arrives...surely that makes sense? I said "oh, I wasn't aware I'd have to pay money before receiving the grant? Erm....can I call you back - I just need to consult my partner"
I guess he started panicking and all professionalism dropped as he mentioned something about if I don't want to go ahead they can release the funds to another company...
Really?! These funds my application was supposedly successful for....hmmmm
So when I came off the call I done some research and digging and found a few blogs about this business and also that the company had only been registered since November 2012!
So let me get this straight....the testimonial-like pictures giving away cheques to businesses (which by the none of the named businesses existed) were all processed, approved, given away and photographed within 4 months of trading...that's impressive. So what would happen is you would have a direct debit or Paypal agreement set up collecting your money while you wait for this grant that never shows up unexpectedly and content - and by that time it's virtually too late to do anything. Sigh...
What about the hundreds of businesses you have helped get these grants over....the years you say?
Anyway, as if this wasn't enough to deter me I Googled their number 08000882209...and after a few pages on Google found it linked with http://www.usagrantfunding.org/forum/ for USA, exact same website...
and http://www.australiangrantfunding.org/ for Australia
I could go on forever about my findings...they also used to be registered as another scammy company selling useless "directories"
The point is this new type of scam is out there so stick to the popular, publicly backed ones, trust your instincts, check with the government body they have claimed to be working with and do not give any money upfront as you will not be protected.
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