02 December 2015 - fraudsters target the agricultural sector


Sent on behalf of Police Scotland 

Farmers are being warned to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails as fraudsters specifically target the agricultural sector as EU grant payments begin to arrive into bank accounts.

Information about payments, including the recipients’ names and the amount paid, is publicly available, meaning criminals are able to directly target victims and make their approaches appear more convincing.

The scam communications will typically claim fraud has been detected on the farmer’s bank account and suggest urgent action is required to safeguard funds. The victim is then encouraged to divulge personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.

With some grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, in past years fraudsters have stolen significant amounts of money.

DCI Kenny Thomson, Police Scotland Economic Crime Unit, said,

“Police Scotland works closely with the financial services sector to protect the public from falling victim to fraud. Criminals are aware of these annual payments to the farming community and will seize any opportunity to defraud their victims. 

"It is vital farmers, and other recipients of the EU grant payments, remain alert to any suspicious phone calls, texts or emails asking for personal or financial information, or encouraging them to transfer money to another account.

“If you receive such a call or message, hang up the phone and do not reply directly. Instead, wait five minutes and ring your bank to alert them to the scam, using a phone number which you trust – such as the one from the official website.”

Be wary of:

  • Any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from your bank, the police, a Government body or other organisation asking for personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.
  • Cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters can keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.
  • Any request to check the number showing on your telephone display matches an organisation’s registered telephone number. The display cannot be trusted, as the number showing can be altered by the caller.

Remember: 

  • You will never be asked for your 4 digit PIN or your online banking password, or for you to transfer money to a new account for “fraud reasons”.
  • If you receive a suspicious call, hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line, or where possible use a different phone line, then call your bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the fraud.
  • Never disclose your:

- Four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police.
- Your password or online banking codes.
- Personal details unless you are certain you know who you are talking to.

Contacting Police: reporting crime and/or suspicious activity

Call 101 for non-emergencies and general enquiries, in an emergency call 999. 

If anyone has any information about the incident they are encouraged to contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/.

No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
 
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