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Action Fraud have recently announced a new scam whereby emails and cold calls from fraudsters are being made asking people to apply for Government grants in return for an advance fee.

A bogus company name and website is setup and callers claim to be operating on behalf of the Government. They then ask for entities to provide personal information and then re-contact their victims to inform them they have been accepted onto the grant programme.

Applicants then have to provide identification and deposit their own contribution onto a pre-paid credit card. The fraudsters then contact the victims by phone or email to ask for the pre-paid card details and copies of statements in order for them to add the grant funds.

The grant is never provided and the fraudster takes the money from the pre-paid credit card.

How can I protect my entity from this scam?

Well firstly, a Government grant is never provided on the basis of paying in advance and they definitely will not ask for a pre-paid credit card. The Government should have all the information they need if a genuine grant application has been submitted, so requests for other information such as banking information and personal details should be ignored/refused.

If you think you are a victim or an attempted one, ensure you contact Action Fraud to inform them. There has been 85 reports of this type of fraud since January 2017 with an average loss of £3,000.

This kind of fraud can have a significant impact on your entity. So be vigilant and be careful.

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