The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides millions of dollars in grants to organizations across the globe each year. It does not give grants to individuals – a lesson a Boynton Beach man learned at a cost of $56,950 earlier this week.

The man fell victim to a scam from someone claiming to be a representative from the foundation, who said he qualified for a substantial grant because he was a widower and disabled veteran. The representative said there were costs involved with the grant, and instructed the man to wire thousands of dollars from his money market account. The representative also had him buy five iPhones and send them to an address in Dickson, TX.

Finally, the representative told the victim to buy gift cards in various amounts and provide the account numbers to the representative over the phone. The man realized he had been scammed when he received a check from the representative and it was deemed insufficient by the bank.

According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, scams claiming to be from or associated with their organization are growing in volume. They remind people that their representatives will not request administrative fees for awarding a grant nor will they approach individuals offering grant opportunities. You can learn more about potential scams involving the foundation on their website:

Please share this information with your loved ones, especially your elders. Tell them that if someone calls them and asks them to wire money or buy iPhones or gift cards, it is likely a scam and they should verify who the caller/organization is before sending any money or items.