GrantLinePro.com—Another Bogus Grant Site
Although we get scads of spam, we've noticed an uptick of spammers replying to our exposés of sham sites with links to other dubious sites. Here's a case in point, which someone tried to post to our blog yesterday:
going for the grant kits is the way to go when choosing a grant
The comment was a response to a post we did on grantwritingexpress.com, one of the many fake government grant sites proliferating like mushrooms as con artists try to take advantage of desperate consumers. As we noted in a recent post, there's only one site for federal grants, and it's www.grants.gov. The FTC has been warning consumers about these scams since 2006, but they've gained a new lease on life with President Obama's stimulus package.
The homepage features your standard "free grant" pitch: "The Government is giving away Billions of Grant money to U.S. Citizens for FREE! It's true, you dont [sic] have to pay the Grants back. All you have to do is apply for the type of Government Grant that fits your needs, and wait for the check from the Government."
The homepage also includes the above photo, purportedly one Jennifer Dahl, PhD - CEO of GovenmentGrantsOnline.us. Funny, there's no mention of her on WHOIS. Also, the ALT text refers to her as "business-woman12," which certainly has a very stock-photo ring to it.
Of course, there's also the obligatory "As seen on TV" banner with the logos of major news organizations for that extra bit of legitimacy. Most site using this ploy leave these logos unlinked for obvious reasons. But the entire banner is linked, and clicking it takes you to this site: GrantLine Professional.
If you scroll down the page, the site promotes three different grant sites, the first of which is GrantLine Professional. (We'll look at the others in subsequent posts). We felt like we'd seen this site before, and in a sense we had, since it bears a resemblance to grantwritingexpress.com, the subject of the post Thomas commented on—and the recipient of a failing grade from the Better Business Bureau.
Like Grant Writing Express, GrantLine Professional asks that you fill out a form to "find out if you qualify for free government cash today." We filled it out with nonsense, clicked and landed on a page similar to one we encountered on Grant Writing Express, where we learn that our "free CD" will cost us $1.97 for priority shipping.
And again, as with Grant Writing Express, the devil is in the details in the form of some very fine print below the "Ship My Kit!" button (emphasis added):
Let's see if we got this straight. Once you order your "free" CD for $1.97, and assuming you ignore the fine print, you're agreeing to monthly, recurring credit card charges of $92.85! And even if you do read the fine print and agree to all three free trials, you may have trouble trying to cancel before the deadline. Most offers of this kind are notorious for providing numbers that either don't work or never pick up.
Although the BBB has no record of GovernmentGrantsOnline.us, it has plenty to say about GrantLine Professional (which was exactly what we encountered with grantwritingexpress.com, since there was no record of the "feeder" site that linked to it). For while the GrantLine Professional URL that GovernmentGrantsOnline.us links to (https://glpimi.orderlockbox.com/?file=index_trial.html&affiliateid=GLPIMI1&sub_affiliateid=23038) turned up zero on either WHOIS or the BBB, a search for "GrantLine Professional" on the BBB site struck pay dirt.
Turns out GrantLine Professional is based in Utah, and the main site can be found at www.grantlinepro.com. Running that URL through WHOIS turns up no information, since they're registered by proxy, a classic tactic by companies wishing to hide their identity. And what did the BBB have to say about GrantLine Professional? It gives it a failing grade, for the following reasons:
-BBB concerns with the industry in which this business operates.
-Number of complaints filed against business.
-Failure to respond to complaints filed against business.
-Number of complaints filed against business that were not resolved.
-BBB does not have sufficient information to determine how long this business has been operating.
-BBB does not have sufficient background information on this business.
The Ripoff Report also featured a couple of interesting entries about GrantLine Professional:
Grantline Pro unaturarized my debit card for 59.95
I was falsley assummed by this company to recieve grant information, then they charged my debit card for 59.95 when the site said only 1.97 for cd. never got anything cannot contactt them to get remibursed.
summit hill, Pennsylvania
GrantLine Pro grant preditors just like all the rest. Plus they gave my e-mail to everyone but Santa
Grant Line Pro was one of many sites that came up after searching govt. grants. 'We will send you free Cd for Shipping only $1.97' Don't fall for it.
They're Cd is only about starting an internet company where you don't touch any mds. Simply a get rich sceam.
Then, the e-mails start coming. They sold my name to everyone but Santa Clause. I'm glad i used an e address that is old and i don't use regularly. I recieved 154 junk e-mails just from christmas till 12-28-08.
Then I was charged $59.95 on my amx card.
Then i was charged 14.95 for a 'residual savings' from them.