In an initiative between government and the independent charity Crimestoppers, the public can now 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 support illegally.
Cabinet Office Minister Julia Lopez said:
Many people work hard to pay their taxes, so it’s a gross injustice that fraudsters are shamefully taking advantage of measures set up to help people during the lockdown.
We cannot let criminals profit from the COVID crisis, as every pound stolen by fraudsters could be invested in our vital public services. This is why we are urging the public to report any information 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.
Although fraud is a hidden crime and can take time to be discovered, the public can still look out for tell tale signs. These can include unusual buying activity by companies and individuals, as well as cold calling by those falsely claiming that 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.