The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has published new guidance for farmers about sending in documents by email, and updated its advice to prevent claimants becoming victims of fraud.
If farmers want to email the agency with a query or to submit rural payments and grants documents, emails should only come from an email address that is registered with the Rural Payments service and be sent by someone with the relevant permission level for the business.
See also: How to avoid becoming a victim of fraud
To help ensure that emails get to the right department as quickly as possible, the RPA asked that any emails are sent with a subject heading that includes the name of the scheme and what the email is about.
For example, it suggested the subject heading could be “Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier query”.
It will only accept emails of up to 32MB and insists supporting evidence must not be sent by links to an external shared drive, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
If farmers need to send multiple files because they have attachments that exceed 32MB they should split them into separate emails, the RPA said.
The same subject heading should be used for each email, but the total number of emails should be referenced in the subject line by adding “1 of 3”, “2 of 3”, “3 of 3”.
Fraudsters have previously targeted farmers with emails, texts and calls claiming to be from the RPA or Defra.
Links to a website mocked up to look like an RPA or Defra online service were sometimes included in the message.
“We do not send emails or text messages with links to websites asking you to confirm your personal details or payment information,” the RPA said.
“We strongly advise anyone who receives such a request not to open the link and delete the item.”
The agency has issued the following advice to farmers:
- Never discuss your bank account details with someone you do not know
- The RPA will not ask anyone to make a payment over the phone
- Delete any emails or texts you do not believe are genuine, and do not open any links. The RPA’s main email addresses are email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
- Be cautious about what information you share externally, particularly on social media
- If you suspect an attempted fraud, report it to the RPA’s Fraud Referral Team on 0800 347 347 or FraudInConfidence@rpa.gov.uk