Police are urging farmers to be aware of the potential risk of fraud in relation to the Single Payment Scheme.
Officers say that fraudsters are aware of the timings of the payments, who is entitled to claim and the amount that is paid and can call or email the potential victim claiming to represent the Rural Payments Agency, your bank or police.
Fraudsters will claim that fraud has been detected on the farmer’s business or personal account and that immediate action is required to remedy the situation.
The victim is then convinced to hand over bank account details in order to transfer funds into a safe account which is actually controlled by the fraudster. Once the money is transferred, it is often very difficult to recover as funds are then quickly moved into other accounts.
As part of the warning, police have issued some crime-prevention advice to help protect farmers from the scam. This includes:
○ Be wary of unsolicited approaches by phone and cold callers who suggest you hang up and call them back – fraudsters can keep your line open by not putting the receiver down at their end.
○ Your bank or police will never phone to ask for your four-digit card pin or your online banking password. They will never ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safekeeping or transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons. Your bank or police will never send a courier to your home and will never collect your bank card.
○ Fraudsters may have basic information about you in their possession, so do not assume a caller is genuine because they have these details.
Any farmer who is concerned or suspicious should contact their bank and inform the police.
The Single Payment Scheme is an agricultural subsidy scheme for farmers in the European Union. It is the main agricultural subsidy scheme in the Union.
○ As part of Operation Ghillie, run by Alnwick Neighbourhood Team to combat rural crime, a search of a premises was carried out in Morpeth. Three Honda quad bikes believed to have been stolen were seized and returned to their owners.