Halton Housing have been informed that fraudsters are offering people ‘low cost Government loans and grants’ which DO NOT EXIST, in return for proof of I.D., bank account details and a fixed fee.
Fraudsters are using personal details to make false claims for Universal Credit (UC) and requesting an ‘Advance Payment’, which can be up to 100% of the value of the full UC claim.
Not only could they obtain part of the Advance Payment but they also have hold of personal details which could lead to further fraudulent activity occurring.
Those being targeted will not only have their current benefits stopped and replaced by UC, but they will then also have to pay back the ‘loan’ (Advance Payment) in full from their future UC payments.
In some cases, false circumstances are being reported when the application is made to maximise the potential UC payment (and therefore the Advance Payment). This means that the victim has an even higher amount to repay from their UC payments.
Once someone has made a claim for UC, they will stay on it and won’t be able to return to their original benefits.
Please follow the following advice to prevent falling victim to this targeted fraud:
- Never give money to someone who calls unannounced at your home, out in public or who contacts you by phone, letter or email. Criminal gangs are targeting people for their personal information.
- Never share personal information with anyone, even if they claim to be an official.
- Always ask for ID and check the ID shown using a phone number they find themselves using their own paperwork or Internet etc.
- Remember it is a criminal offence to knowingly provide false information on a benefit claim. If you were to make a false declaration on a benefit claim, it could affect the benefits you already receive, and offenders will be prosecuted by DWP.
- Remember ‘Low cost Government loans’ DO NO EXIST – if you have been on benefits for longer than six months, you could apply for a Budgeting Loan (Budgeting Advance in UC).
- If you have been affected by fraudsters or if you believe someone you know is being targeted; please contact Action Fraud, call the Police on 101 or contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.
Halton Housing customers get free advice and support by contacting our Welfare Benefit Money Advice team. You can contact the team via the Halton Housing App or email email@example.com.
For further information and advice about UC, call the UC Helpline on 0800 328 5644. Alternatively, find out more about Universal Credit Advance Payments.