Universal Credit demand rose over the last two years or so as the economic impact of coronavirus hit home. Unfortunately, scammers utilised these elements to target already struggling households and these risks may ramp up once more as the Omicron variant looms.
What to look out for
Fortunately, Money Helper, the public advisory service, issued guidance on what Universal Credit scams are emerging along with what can be done to avoid them.
Money Helper said: “People who claim Universal Credit are being targeted by scammers offering low-cost loans or grants from the Government.
“You might be called by someone claiming to work for Jobcentre Plus, or contacted through social media ads. Many of the scammers have convincing websites, with Government logos and testimonials.
“They might ask for your ID and bank details, offer to make a claim for Universal Credit and apply for an advance payment on your behalf, taking some of this money as their fee.
“However the full amount of advance payments need to be repaid out of future Universal Credit payments. So you’ll end up paying back the whole amount borrowed.”
Money Helper continued by advising people on what to do if they’re presented with a scam or dubious offer.
It said: “It’s important not to be tempted by these offers if you’re already claiming any of the benefits that are being replaced by Universal Credit. These include…