WARNING: Universal Credit Scam

29 Jul 2019
News
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To help Warrington residents stay one step ahead, WHA Money Advice Officer, Steven, warns of a recent scam targeting benefit claimants.

How does the scam work?

Scammers have been posing as government officials to offer loans to benefit claimants to persuade into sharing their personal details. A claim for Universal Credit is then made in their name and a Benefit Advance applied for, but the scammer will switch the bank details on the claim so the victim never receives the money. This can have a devastating effect because the first thing the victim knows about it is when all their existing benefits stop. They could also end up stuck on Universal Credit, which might be paid at a much lower rate, and will have deductions made to repay the Benefit Advance that the scammer has stolen.

The Government has indicated that they will look at all incidents individually and will consider writing off the money and putting people back on their previous benefits.

What can you do about it?

If the Universal Credit claim has been made by a scammer entirely without the knowledge or consent of the victim, it is possible to argue that a valid Universal Credit claim has not been made. You need to act fast as there is only a one-month window to challenge the decision to end previous benefits by requesting a formal reconsideration.

However, if the victim has contributed to making the Universal Credit claim, even if this is a result of misleading advice from the scammer, it may be more difficult to put this argument forward.

Other things to consider

If you have fallen victim to this scam, it is advisable to report it to the Police and to Action Fraud. You should also notify your bank and change any online banking passwords/PIN numbers if your account details have been compromised.

Where to get help

Residents of Warrington Housing Association, customers of WHiA and members of LifeTime can contact Steven for help and advice about this issue. Otherwise, you can contact your local advice agency such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

Testimonials

“We’re really grateful for the excellent service we received from Warrington Housing Association’s Money Adviser and the extra money has made a big difference, helping us hire a gardener and be able to go to LifeTime more often where we enjoy singing in the choir”

Mr & Mrs Holland – WHiA Customers

“I’m so grateful to Warrington Housing Association for reaching out to me to make sure I’m claiming my full benefit entitlements”

Ms Heseltine – WHA Resident

“We couldn’t have navigated the benefits system without the fantastic help we received from Warrington Housing Association’s Money Adviser”

Andrew & Eileen – WHA Residents

“I felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I had somebody on my side”

Barbara, WHA resident

“Warrington Housing Association’s Whia service is great, as it helps people stay in their own home, and this is really complimented by the fact that you are then introduced to their other services like the LifeTime centre – which shows they really care for the community they work in.”

Barry and Lynn

Warrington Housing Association 

Contact Us

Tel: 01925 246810
Fax: 01925 246814
Email: admin@wha.org.uk

Warrington Housing Association, the Gateway, 89 Sankey Street, Warrington, WA1 1SR

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