Grant and loan
April 23, 2021: Many Canadians are experiencing financial hardship as a consequence of the current pandemic and, unfortunately, the reporting of fraudulent loan websites and grant scams are increasing. Learn more below.
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Business grants and loans
Scammers use websites that look like official government sites to attract people looking for small- and medium-sized business financing. These sites:
- Advertise "special access" to government funding programs
- May use Government of Canada logos and wordmarks and the Canadian flag
- May have official-sounding names
Part of the application may even request the draft of a business plan.
The site asks you to pay an upfront fee, either to receive a list of available grants or to complete the application. In some cases, the site may ask that you open a new business bank account to receive the money. Once you provide the details of the bank account, the scammers may use the account to launder money. You never receive any money.
Government grant and loan services are offered free of charge by government departments or agencies. No one can guarantee government grants and loans. Private sector companies are not involved in the approval process of government grants and loans.
Scammers use ads that state you may qualify for free money that you can spend on anything. You complete an application and receive confirmation that you qualify. To get the money, you need to pay an upfront fee. The more you pay, the more you'll get.
Variation: Recommendation from a friend
In a variation, one of your trusted friends contacts you via social media to tell you about a free grant they got from a government grant program. They encourage you to apply as well. Unfortunately, the messages are from a scammer who hacked your friend's account.
These grant offers are completely fake and no grant is ever received.
Weight loss grants
Scammers use ads for free weight loss grant programs to promise to pay most of the weight loss program's fee. After you submit an application, you receive a confirmation email stating that you qualify. Every applicant does.
The scammers refer you to a preferred vendor, where you'll need to pay an upfront program fee. You follow all the rules and lose the weight by the deadline. After requesting the promised grant, you receive no money.
Fraudulent loan websites are designed to look like legitimate lending institutions. Their fraudulent loan applications are used to collect your personal information. This can result in identity theft and fraud. Once quickly approved, the fraudsters will request a fee to secure the loan. Once the money is sent, the victim never receives their loan.
In most provinces, it is illegal for a company to request an upfront fee before you receive your loan
- You should never send money first
Beware of companies that offer guaranteed loans; even if you have bad credit or no credit
- They may use wording such as "
good credit, bad credit, apply now!" and guarantee a loan for a fee
- They may use wording such as "
- Beware of instant approvals
- End all contact if the company requests payment by email money transfer, money service businesses or pre-paid credit cards
If in doubt, contact your provincial consumer protection agency and/or financial regulator to confirm that a company is a legitimate lender.
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