telephone© Rex

Farmers have been warned to be on the alert to fraudsters who are using the new the Basic Payment Scheme as a front to extract bank details from their victims.

The NFU has issued a warning that criminals are contacting farmers claiming they can help them to register and claim BPS if they answer their questions.

See also: Farmers among top targets for financial fraudsters

“Members should look out for fraudsters calling or emailing claiming to represent the Rural Payments Agency, their bank or the police,” said a statement.

“The victim is usually convinced to hand over bank account details.”

The union says that the fraudsters are aware of the timing of the BPS.

Much of the information on who receives payments is also publicly available, so criminals are able to target specific individuals.

Farmers are being urged to be vigilant about any cold callers, even if they do sound like they have information about an individual business.

Producers are also being reminded that if a cold caller suggests you hang up and then ring them back, fraudsters can keep the line open by not ending the call at their end.

Other precautions:

  • If you feel something is suspicious or feel vulnerable, hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line, or where possible use a different phone line, then call your bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the fraud
  • If you don’t have another telephone to use, call someone you know first to make sure the telephone line is free
  • Your bank will also never ask you to check the number showing on your telephone display matches their registered telephone number. The display cannot be trusted, as the number showing can be altered by the caller
  • Criminals may already have basic information about you in their possession (eg. name, address, account details), so do not assume a caller is genuine because they have these details or because they claim to represent a legitimate organisation