Thursday, January 14, 2010

What About All Those Grants From the Stimulus?

Surprise! A lot of them are as fake as three dollar bills! Those ads you see in Google? The ones in Facebook? Fake, fake, and fake. Slate's Chadwick Matlin lays down the smack on these. Those apparently worthy and stalwart people, who got free cash on official-appearing checks with fuzzy signitures? Are apparently identical. Many of these "grants" require a "handling fee," and what they won't tell you is that if you don't cancel the "subscription" you sign up for (what, you didn't know that you subscribed to anything?), you could be on the hook for some big fees that will be run up on your credit card. To repeat: nobody is writing grants to people from the stimulus bill. And the government never requires a "handling fee" to do this for you.

If you are a working low-income person, your best bet for money you have coming to you is getting earned income tax credits through your tax returns. If you really want to save money, have those returns prepared by VITA volunteers (call 1-800-906-9887 to find the nearest one and set up an appointment). If you are in the metro Toledo, Ohio area, call 211 for the nearest location.

If you seek job training, find your nearest job center, because they have probably received job retraining money for their clients. Inquire about the training programs available there. But don't answer ads telling you you have a $12,000 check waiting for you that just requires a handling fee. Because you don't.

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