A new hotline has been launched to stop fraudsters illegally targeting Covid stimulus
In an initiative between the Government and independent charity Crimestoppers, the public can call a new Covid Fraud Hotline ( 0800 587 5030 ) anonymously and free of charge to report suspected fraudulent activity.
Over 150 Covid support schemes have been introduced by the government to help those struggling financially, but a minority of individuals have been abusing these schemes by claiming loans and grants illegally.
Speaking from the Crimestoppers’ call centre today, Cabinet office Minister, Julia
“It’s an affront both to hard working taxpayers and those in genuine need that some people have been exploiting pandemic support schemes to line their own pockets. Criminals must not be allowed to profit from this time of national crisis.
"Every pound stolen is a pound that could be spent on vital public services in our country’s hour of need. This is why we are urging the public to report any information about fraud of this kind to the Crimestoppers Covid Fraud Hotline.”
Chief Executive of Crimestoppers, Mark Hallas OBE said:
“Fraud against the public purse denies access to vital funds that benefit us all. It’s crucial that anyone who has information or knows of someone who has fraudulently claimed Government grants or loans to contact our charity completely anonymously and tell us what you know.
“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.”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
“We have worked incredibly hard to make sure our support schemes get to those that need it most, however we will not tolerate those that seek to defraud the taxpayer.
“Every penny lost to fraud is a penny that cannot be spent on protecting jobs
and businesses, which is why we will take whatever steps are necessary to hunt down those criminals found to be illegally profiting from this pandemic.”
Although fraud is a hidden crime and can take a great deal of time to be discovered, the
public can still look out for tell tale signs. These can include unusual buying activity by
companies and individuals and cold calling by those falsely claiming they are from the
Government offering money for schemes.
The Government has partnered with the independent charity Crimestoppers to provide an
anonymous hotline to gather information to ensure it carefully guards public resources paid
for by the taxpayer for vital services like hospitals and schools.