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Council warns of grant scam circulating on Facebook

RESIDENTS and businesses in Carmarthenshire are being warned not to respond to messages from a fake company offering grants of up to £2,000 on Facebook.

Scammers claiming to be from a business called DFID are targeting social media accounts and are also friend requesting people from the person’s friend list.

The fake company offers ‘free money’ to help people who are experiencing difficulty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The scammer then asks the person to fill out a form with their personal details.

Some residents and businesses have also received phone calls from the fake company.

The council’s Trading Standards team is warning residents in Carmarthenshire to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from people’s concern and uncertainty.

The council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr Phillip Hughes said: “Criminals are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to scam people and businesses in a variety of ways. These people have no morals and don’t care who they target. If you receive a message or a phone call from these scammers do not respond, report them to Facebook and secure your account. If you get a telephone call from them then put down the phone and report it to the police.”

Residents are being urged to keep in contact with family members regularly and inform them of the most prolific scams and the possible dangers to them.

Dyfed Powys Police Cyber Protect Officer, DC Gareth Jordan said: “This is another form of phishing where criminals will look to lure a victim in with an offer that sounds fantastic. Once the victim is on the line, the criminal will start the process of retrieving as many details as they can. They then use these details to gain the trust from other unsuspecting individuals and pretend to be the person they have just stolen details from. If you’re able to check the validity of any company phoning or messaging you by doing your own research online. Google the company online and see if anyone else has heard from them. Use the internet to check the number they are calling from – www.who-called.co.uk is a good site to check suspicious phone numbers. Don’t get hurried into making decisions or giving out details and hang up if you are not sure. If it seems too good to be true it usually is.”

For further help and advice please email tradingstandards@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call 01267 234567.

If you’ve been a victim of fraud, report it to the police. You can do this online at bit.ly/DPPReportOnline, by emailing contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101.

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