Hartlepool residents warned over Universal Credit scam - Action Fraud investigating dozens of reports
Officials are warning people of a new scam criminals are carrying out involving Universal Credit.
Residents in Hartlepool are being advised of the scam by Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and cyber reporting centre.
Action Fraud says it has received 63 reports nationally about a con in which fraudsters target people with offers of ‘low cost’ loans or ‘free’ government grants.
Action Fraud states: “What the victims aren’t told is that the money they’ll receive is actually an advance payment for Universal Credit.
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“The criminals use the personal information they’ve obtained under false pretences to make an application in the victim’s name.“After the fraudsters have taken their ‘fee’ from the advance payment, the victim is then left to pay back the total amount once their repayments begin.”Action Fraud has issued the following advice to help people protect themselves.
Never share your personal or financial information with someone you don’t know and trust, especially if it’s in response to an offer of ‘free money’ or a ‘free grant’. Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) staff will never approach you in the street or ask for your personal/financial details over social media. If you have concerns about your benefits, you should visit www.gov.uk/contact-jobcentre-plus If you suspect your identity may have been stolen, you can check your credit rating quickly and easily online. You should do this every few months anyway, using a reputable service provider and following up on any unexpected or suspicious results.