Farmers in Mid Wales are being warned to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails as a scam specifically targeting the agricultural sector has been identified.
The call was made by Dyfed-Powys Police as during December farmers start to receive payments through the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy).
Information about the payments, including the recipients’ names and the amount paid, is publicly available, meaning criminals are able to directly target victims making their approaches appear more convincing.
The scam communications will typically claim that fraud has been detected on the farmer’s bank account and that urgent action is required to safeguard funds.
The victim is then persuaded to divulge personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.
With some grants worth thousands of pounds, in past years fraudsters have stolen significant amounts of money from their victims.
Paul Callard, of the financial crime team for Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “If you receive such a call or message, hang up the phone and do not reply directly.
“Instead, wait five minutes and ring your bank to alert them to the scam, using a phone number that you trust – such as the one from the official website.”
Police advice on how to avoid this type of scam includes being wary of calls, texts or emails saying it’s your bank, the police, a government body or other organisation asking for personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.
Also, 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.
Be wary of requests to check the number showing on your telephone display matches an organisation’s registered telephone number. The display cannot be trusted, as the number showing can be altered by the caller.
• You will never be asked for your 4 digit PIN or your online banking password, or for you to transfer money to a new account for “fraud reasons”.
• If you receive a suspicious call, 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.
Never disclose your:
• Four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police.
• Your password or online banking codes.
• Personal details unless you are certain you know who you are talking to. People are not always who they say they are.