FOX43 Finds Out: A grant or scam?

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HARRISBURG, Pa -- Some of us hit the ignore button on our phones when we get a phone call from a number we don't recognize.

If you answer and the caller is offering you $15,000 in free money, it can be enticing.

FOX43 finds out if the grant offer is real or a scam.

Robert Steele of Harrisburg says those calls were coming from a number with a Washington DC area code.

"Two weeks ago I accepted the phone call because I was home and I said "let me just hear what they have to say," said Robert Steele of Harrisburg.

That's when the caller told Steele, he got a grant for almost $15,000.

All he had to do was go to a store and put some money on what the caller called an "Apple card."

"You'll put $150 on it. You'll give us the card number and then we'll transfer the $14,500 or whatever it is to that card and you'll get the $150 back. I think he called it a registration fee," said Steele.

Steele thought it seemed fishy.

Especially because he never heard of an Apple card, an iTunes card yes, but not Apple.

Plus, Steele never even applied for a grant.

Somehow though, the caller knew some of Steele's personal information.

"They asked me for my name and address and I said, you tell me what my name and address is I'm not going to give it to you. Then they have me my name, my address and phone number."

Steele was freaked out, so he began to question the caller.

"They said that they work for the government, that Apple was sponsoring the grant."

The caller even provided Steele with a government ID and a number to call his supervisor.

Which he did and no one ever answered.

That's when Steele realized he was about to be scammed and hung up.

Just to make sure, we decided to give those numbers a call and no on ever answered.

"I'm eligible for all this money, who doesn't like the money," said Steele.

We reached out to Apple, just to make sure the grant is a scam.

A spokesperson confirmed that grant and that money is fake.

Crooks often tell people to put money on an iTunes card and give them the card number, because when the scammers has the card number, the funds on the card will likely be spent before you are able to contact apple or law enforcement.

Apple officials say you should only use an iTunes gift card if you're buying something from the app store.

Don't give the card number to people you don't know.

If it's too late, report the scam to police and the federal trade commission.

FTC officials say if you actually receive a free grant, you shouldn't have to pay anything not even a processing fee.

However, there is a list of actual government grants you can apply for.