Charities are being warned to watch out for a fake grant scheme which has conned people and organisations out of more than £250,000 in one year.
Action Fraud said that it has received 85 reports of this type of fraud since January 2017 with charities receiving bogus calls and emails inviting them to apply for fake Government grants in return for an advance fee. Once an online application form has been filled out with personal information, the fraudsters contact victims, congratulating them on being accepted onto the fake 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.
Sadly, the grant funds are never given by the fraudsters and the money that’s been loaded onto the card by the victim is stolen. Temporary Detective Chief Inspector, Lara Xenoudakis, of the City of London Police, said: ‟Under the guise of the UK Government, fraudsters are taking advantage of peoples’ trust by setting up convincing fake websites. ‟The NFIB is working hard take down these websites and prevent people from falling victim however, we are urging people to be cautious.
‟A legitimate Government grant scheme would never expect to receive an upfront payment in return for the grant, so it is important that anyone who believes they may have been contacted by these fraudsters makes a report to Action Fraud.” The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has so far disrupted one website that was being used to commit this fraud and it is working with Companies House to identify other fake companies and disrupt fraudulent websites in their name.
To find out more about Action Fraud, click here.