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Basic Payment Scheme: beware the fraudsters targeting farmers

Scammers are using the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to target farmers expecting to receive their instalment from 1 December. Find out how to avoid BPS fraud.

Find out how to avoid BPS fraud.

Fraudsters are keenly aware of when these subsidy payments are due, and many farmers have reported receiving emails, texts or phone calls from criminals claiming to be from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) or the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Email and text scam messages may include a link a fake website designed to look like an authentic RPA or Defra online service. Or the criminals might call the farmer directly to claim fraud has been detected on their account and that urgent action is required to safeguard funds. The farmer is then persuaded to share personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.

The RPA says it will not send emails or text messages with links to websites asking you to confirm your personal details or payment information. Nor will the government or a bank official ask you to reveal your account details or make an urgent payment over the phone.

As fraudsters may target farmers who receive subsidy payments, remember:

  • Never discuss your bank account details with someone you don’t know
  • Don't click on links in suspicious emails or text messages
  • The RPA will not ask you to make a payment over the phone
  • Delete any emails or texts you don’t believe are genuine
  • If you receive a suspicious call, hang up, dial 159 to contact your bank. 159 works in the same way as 101 for the police or 111 for the NHS. It's the number you can trust to get through to your bank, every time. For further details on 159 please see our article Fighting the scammers: new 159 hotline.
  • Be cautious about what information you share externally, particularly on social media

If you suspect an attempted fraud or feel you have been the subject of fraud, contact the RPA’s Fraud Referral Team on 0800 347 347 or email FraudInConfidence@rpa.gov.uk. Action Fraud (the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime) can be contacted on 0300 123 2040 or if you are based in Scotland, call Police Scotland on 101.

Find our latest fraud prevention articles here

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

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