Action Fraud, the National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, is warning people to watch out for emails and cold calls from fraudsters who are asking people to apply for Government grants in return for an advance fee.
Bogus companies which have websites set up in the company name, claim to be operating on behalf of the UK Government
The fraudsters cold call businesses and individuals offering the grants and if they’re interested, direct them to fill out an online application form with their personal information.
Once the fraudsters have obtained the personal information they will re-contact victims and congratulate them on being accepted onto the grant programme.
Applicants are then asked to provide identification and are instructed to get a pre-paid card to deposit their own contribution to the fake Government grant scheme. Prepaid cards can be used in a similar way to credit cards, except the funds on a prepaid card are loaded on prior to spending.
Fraudsters will contact the victims by phone or email to ask for the details of their pre-paid card and copies of statements in order for them to add the grant funds.
Of course the grant funds are never given by the fraudsters and the money that’s been loaded onto the card by the victim is stolen.
Protect yourself from advanced fee frauds:
Be wary of unsolicited calls about applying for grants. You should never have to pay to receive a Government grant, and they definitely won’t instruct you to obtain a pre-paid card. The Government should have all the information they need if a genuine grant application was submitted, therefore any requests for personal or banking information either over the phone or online should be refused.
If you think your bank or personal details have been compromised or if you believe you have been defrauded contact your bank immediately. Stop all communication with the ‘agency’ but make a note of their details and report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.