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Farmers Warned of Festive Fraud Risk

Farmers and landowners are being warned of the increased threat of fraud in the run up to Christmas as criminals deliberately target the agricultural sector.

With Single Farm Payments being made from 1 December, farmers and landowners accounts are a very attractive target for phone scammers who can net hundreds and thousands of pounds from successful cons.

Old Telephone

CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said:
“A lot of information as to who receives the Single Payment is now made publically available, which makes farmers and landowners increasingly vulnerable.

“Criminals can target specific individuals, which greatly improves their chances of success.”

Financial Fraud Action UK’s (FFA UK) intelligence unit – the Financial Fraud Bureau – has warned that over the last two years, farmers from right across the country have become victims of deception crimes at this time of year.

The scams used by fraudsters involve telephoning their victim and posing as their bank, the police or another trusted organisation. Typically, the criminals 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 tricked into handing over key financial information or transferring funds into a so called ‘safe account’ which is controlled by the criminal. Once the money has been stolen, it is often very difficult to recover, because the funds are moved out of the criminal’s bank account so quickly.

In the past victims have been targeted across the country with areas such as Yorkshire, Lanarkshire and the Scottish Borders being a particular target.

Commenting, Katy Worobec, Director of FFA UK said:
“Farmers need to be on high alert over the next few weeks as they are much more likely to be a target of phone fraudsters.

“Be immediately suspicious if you get a call and you are asked to give out personal or financial information, or asked to transfer money into other accounts. If in doubt, hang up the phone, leave it five minutes so that the call has definitely terminated and then ring back the organisation the caller claims to be from, but on a number that you know and trust.”

Advice on how to avoid phone scams

Be wary of:

  • Unsolicited approaches by phone.

  • 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.

Your bank or the police will never:

  • Phone you to ask for your 4 digit card PIN or your online banking password, even by tapping them into the telephone keypad.

  • Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping.

  • Ask you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons, even if they say it is in your name.

  • Send someone to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or cheque book if you are a victim of fraud.

  • Ask you to purchase goods using your card and then hand them over for safe- keeping.

Never disclose your:

  • Four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police.

  • FULL password or online banking codes.

  • Personal details unless you are sure who you are talking to.

  • Remember It takes two people to terminate a call.

  • If you feel something is suspicious or feel vulnerable, 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.

  • If you don’t have another telephone to use, call someone you know first to make sure the telephone line is free.

  • Your bank will also never ask you to check the number showing on your telephone display matches their registered telephone number. The display cannot be trusted, as the number showing can be altered by the caller.

  • Criminals may already have basic information about you in their possession (e.g. name, address, account details), so do not assume a caller is genuine because they have these details or because they claim to represent a legitimate organization.


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