Universal Credit Text on Typewriter Paper. Image Credit: PhotoFunia.com


Beware of Phone Scams: DWP Issues Urgent Warning to Universal Credit Claimants

There has been a concerning rise in phone scams targeting individuals with online Universal Credit accounts. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued a stern warning to all claimants, urging them to stay vigilant against fraudulent calls and messages that aim to steal personal information and financial details.

The Rise of Phone Scams

Phone scams have become increasingly sophisticated, often mimicking official government communications to exploit unsuspecting victims. Scammers typically pose as DWP officials or other trusted authorities, using convincing tactics to extract sensitive information. These calls may inform claimants of supposed issues with their Universal Credit account, request personal details to rectify non-existent problems, or promise additional financial support in exchange for banking information.

Common Tactics Used by Scammers

  1. Impersonation of Officials: Scammers often impersonate DWP representatives, using jargon and official-sounding language to appear legitimate.
  2. Urgency and Fear: They create a sense of urgency or fear, claiming that the claimant’s benefits will be stopped or delayed if they do not comply immediately.
  3. Verification Requests: Scammers ask for personal details, including full names, addresses, dates of birth, National Insurance numbers, and bank account information, under the guise of verifying the claimant’s identity.
  4. Financial Promises: Offers of additional payments, grants, or loans designed to help with living costs during the cost-of-living crisis can lure claimants into sharing their financial details.

How to Protect Yourself

To protect against these scams, the DWP advises Universal Credit claimants to follow these guidelines:

  • Verify Caller Identity: If you receive an unexpected call claiming to be from the DWP, do not provide any personal information. Instead, hang up and call the official DWP contact number to verify the legitimacy of the call.
  • Do Not Share Personal Details: Never share personal or financial information over the phone unless you are certain of the caller’s identity and that the request is legitimate.
  • Use Official Channels: Always use official DWP channels to manage your Universal Credit account. This includes logging into your account via the official government website and using verified contact numbers.
  • Report Suspicious Activity: If you suspect a scam, report it immediately to Action Fraud (the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime) and inform the DWP.

What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed

If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, take the following steps immediately:

  1. Contact Your Bank: Inform your bank or financial institution to secure your accounts and prevent further unauthorized transactions.
  2. Report to Action Fraud: File a report with Action Fraud, providing as much detail as possible about the scam.
  3. Notify the DWP: Let the DWP know about the scam so they can take appropriate measures and assist with securing your benefits.

The Importance of Vigilance

The DWP’s warning underscores the importance of vigilance in protecting personal and financial information. As scammers continue to devise new methods to exploit vulnerable individuals, staying informed and cautious is crucial. Universal Credit claimants are encouraged to spread awareness about these scams and help protect their communities by sharing this information with friends and family.

Conclusion

While the rise in phone scams is alarming, claimants can safeguard themselves by remaining alert and following the DWP’s guidelines. By taking proactive measures, you can ensure your personal and financial security while navigating the benefits system.

To protect yourself from phone scams, you can insist that the DWP email you or send a letter for official communication. Additionally, setting your phone to silence unknown callers and enabling “Do Not Disturb” mode ensures that only calls from your favorites list come through, reducing the risk of falling victim to fraudulent calls. Typically, the DWP will also send a text message informing you that they will be calling, so be cautious of unexpected phone calls and verify their authenticity through official channels before sharing any personal information.

Citation: DWP alerts Universal Credit recipients to identify authentic calls as scams increase | Mirror Online – Mirror Online


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Andrew Jones is a seasoned journalist renowned for his expertise in current affairs, politics, economics and health reporting. With a career spanning over two decades, he has established himself as a trusted voice in the field, providing insightful analysis and thought-provoking commentary on some of the most pressing issues of our time.

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