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The Benefit Scam In YOUR Area
Tens of millions of pounds have reportedly been stolen by fraudsters nationally as a result of a Universal Credit scam that has left affected claimants up to £1,500 out of pocket.
How does the scam work?
The fraudster contacts the claimant and says they can get them a government grant or an interest-free loan. The scammers are often smartly dressed, sometimes pretending they are DWP staff, using fake DWP ID cards.
The claimant hands over their details and the fraudster makes a universal credit application on their behalf, asking for an advance loan payment, often without the claimant knowing.
The DWP approves the claim and transfers the money into the claimant's bank account, then the fraudster demands a hefty "fee".
The scammer takes a large chunk of the cash, and disappears.
The first the victim knows that it is actually a scam is often when the DWP writes to say they are now on universal credit, therefore any other benefits they are on are being stopped immediately.
But because the money is a loan, the claimant is then left owing the entire amount to the DWP.
They may target people in your neighbourhood!
Fraudsters are also using social media to promote this scam. The BBC has found pages on Facebook such as ‘Gov Grants Same Day, Same Day Grant, Discretionary Budgeting Grant and Same Day Grant Payment’. Instagram sites include ‘Same Day Drop UK’, while ‘Moneyinaminute’ is also advertising the fraud on Snapchat.
One of Wyre Forest's Universal Credit advisers says “we had a lady who saw the advert on Facebook for a ‘government loan’. She photographed her ID and bank card etc and sent it across for the loan. However, the cause for why so many people are being scammed is that people have to wait 5 weeks for the first payment – people need the money; the advanced payment.”
If someone tries to scam you, call the police. If you need an Advanced Payment use your journal, ask the UC helpline or visit your local Job Centre. No one else can give you an government loan.
DWP and Citizens Advice staff NEVER COLD CALL to make benefit claims.