The government has launched a new COVID fraud hotline to stop fraudsters who make illegal claims for support.
The public can now call a dedicated phoneline anonymously and free of charge to report suspected fraudulent activity. The launch of the new Fraud Hotline is an initiative of government and independent charity Crimestoppers.
Although fraud is a hidden crime and can take time to be discovered, the public can still look out for tell tale signs. These can include unusual buying activity by companies and individuals. Also cold calling by those falsely claiming that they are from the government, offering money for schemes.
The government has introduced over 150 pandemic support schemes to help those struggling financially. But a minority of individuals have been abusing them by claiming loans and grants illegally.
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Cabinet Office Minister Julia Lopez said:
“Many people work hard to pay their taxes, so it’s a gross injustice that fraudsters are shamefully taking advantage of measures set up to help people during the lockdown.”
“We cannot let criminals profit from the COVID crisis, as every pound stolen by fraudsters could be invested in our vital public services. This is why we are urging the public to report any information to the Crimestoppers COVID Fraud Hotline.”
Mark Hallas, Chief Executive of Crimestoppers, also stated:
“Fraud against the public purse denies access to vital funds that benefit us all.”
“The COVID Fraud Hotline is open 24/7, 365 days a year on 0800 587 5030 or fill in the simple and secure anonymous form at covidfraudhotline.org. You’ll be doing the right thing to help ensure the public purse is protected from fraudsters.”
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