"Cash Grant" Robocallers Hit With Record $30 Million In Penalties

Less than a week after shutting down a robocalling nuisance responsible for billions of auto-dialed scam calls, the Federal Trade Commission has taken down another prerecorded perp. These deceptive dialers have been hit with $30 million in penalties, the largest amount ever imposed for violating the guidelines of the Do Not Call Registry.

According to the FTC, the two defendants in the case operated primarily as the “Cash Grant Institute,” and made over 8 million robocalls, including at least 2.7 million calls to consumers who had signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry.

Recipients of these calls were told they had qualified for “cash grants” worth up to $25,000 from federal, state, and local governments, private foundations, and “wealthy individuals.”

The calls then directed recipients to requestagrant.com, where they were referred to sites that charged a fee for basic info on how to apply for grants, a process that is not exactly quick and easy.

The defendants have been permanently banned from marketing grants, grant-procurement goods or services, and credit-related products; from misrepresenting any good or service; and from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule in any fashion in the future. In addition, the court orders bar the defendants from selling or otherwise benefitting from customers’ personal information, and require them to properly dispose of customers’ personal information within 30 days.