I received a call from Advantage America on Saturday August 24th around 9-10am, saying that I had been qualified for upto 12,500 in government grants. I had never heard of them or been on their website so I was pretty surprised and asked what company is this and where did they get my phone number. She told me the name of the company is Advantage America and that I had been referred to them by 'Government Grants.'
I had been on the official government Small Business (SBA)website looking for info on grants for small business a couple of days earlier so I thought they might have something to do with them, the SBA, thus making them legitimate.
This lady, told me that for 49.95, I would get a package in the mail with several grants that I had qualified for upto $12,500. I asked her what kind of grants, describe a few. She said there is one for around 8,800, to study nursing. I asked her to tell me of another and she said in an exasperated tone, 'There are many.' I asked again for what and she said some I could even use to pay my mortgage. She further went on to say that the lowest grant was for $8,000 and the highest $12,500 and that they would all be in the mail in 4 days and all I had to do was sign the ones I wanted and send them in. I told her that I wanted to make sure that what she was telling me was what I understood it to be. So I repeated everything she said and asked if she meant that I would get several grants already prepared and in writing and all I had to do was sign the ones I wanted and send them in. She said "Yes." Well!
As you can imagine I thought that was a pretty good deal especially after she told me that I would get $500 worth of free grocery. I asked if I could use the $500 worth of grocery in any store I wanted. She said, "Yes."
She also said that if I wanted to keep getting my grants every year it would be a fee of $299.95 that would be deducted from my account after I receive my package. If I didn't want to continue receiving the grants every year, I could call and cancel. She also offered a Long Distance calling plan and a health benefits package.
Having heard "Everything," I told her that I hoped it was a legitimate company and that what she was saying is true. Obviously trying to seal the deal, she told me it was and gave me her name, "Lisa James," and after I asked for her employee number too, she said "236." She also gave me a phone number she said I could reach her on 1-800-923-8939 and the business hours 9-5, Monday-Friday.
Having noticed her accent that sounded kinda foreign, like a person from The Islands I asked where she was calling me from and she said Florida, Winter Park.
Of course I waited anxiously for the package that would provide me the money I had been searching so hard for on the internet.
Finally I got it today, October 4th not 4 days later but 10 days later.
I was looking for a large envelope in the mail with grant papers that I would just sign and send in. Instaed all I got was a small white box with a grocery shopping coupon book folded over to fit and a letter folded over twice.
Thinking there must be something missing, like the big envelope I was expecting, I called the company to enquire. After a few busy rings and waiting on hold I finally got through. I asked for Lisa James and the lady that picked up the phone said that she was Customer Service and asked how she could help me. I told her that I had spoken with Lisa James a little over a week ago and that she had told me that I would be getting a package with grants but that I had not received it all I got was a small white box with grocery coupons. She asked me if there was a letter in the box and I said yes. She asked me if I had read it and I said truthfully I had just skimmed through.
She said in a ruddish tone how could I be asking her about anything if I hadn't even read the letter. I told her to hold on I would get it and read it. Which I did. I immediately realised I had been scammed. I have the letter right infront of me right now.
With that realisation, I decided to make sure that I wasn't scammed any further. The letter says you have 7 days to review and that they would then charge $299.95. I told her that I had just received the package so when are they counting from because it's already 10 days later. She told me they would count from today since I received the pkg today. It sounded vague and shakey so I vehemently insisted (3-4 times)they not withdraw any more money out of my account and to cancel me out of this 'deal.'
She put me on hold for a couple of minutes then came back and gave me a cancellation number. I asked for her name and she spelled it "Sheene John." That was 9:47am this morning. A few minutes later I remembered that the lady I talked to initailly Lisa James had told me that if I wasn't satisfied they would be happy to cancel and refund my money. So I called again, got the same CS lady Sheene John who had cancelled me out and she said there is nothing like that. She said the $49.95 fee is a onetime fee that is not refundable. I told her I don't think it's fair and I that I would report them to the BBB.
So tonight I came on the computer to go to their website and investigate these people are and I stumbled across this website.
Now I'm just crossing my fingers that they do not go ahead and take the $299.95 out of my account since they have all account information. I will notify you all if they do.
This is a very bad scam and these people need to be stopped immediately before they steal a lot more of people's money.
PS. The two ladies I talked to have a foreign accent and like another person on this site said they sound like they are just cooking up names when they have to provide that information.
Thank you, beware and take care