Action Fraud 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.
Action Fraud has received 85 reports of this type of fraud since January 2017 with a total loss of £255,724 and an average loss of £3,000.
How the fraud is committed
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.
Be very wary if a grant application process seems too easy!