Highland Council warns of business grants scam

The COVID-19 crisis has seen an unprecedented rise in scams across the whole of the UK and Highland Council Trading Standards is issuing a warning to local businesses about a new scam that has come to light, regarding business grants.

This scam involves an unsolicited email informing the business that its business grant application has been processed and a payment to be made to you soon. The email then refers the business to a remittance advice for payment details, states the grant will be paid by the end of the day and that if the business has any queries it should make contact using the details displayed on the remittance advice.

Mark McGinty, Trading Standards Team Leader states, “At a time when many businesses are struggling and really need to make use of the business grants available, we can rely on the unscrupulous scammers to step in and attempt to make a bad situation even worse. As this is a scam the payment will not be received by the end of the day, prompting some businesses to make contact with the scammers.

"This of course is exactly what the scammers want, and it will get them that bit closer to taking valuable funds away from the business.  I would urge all businesses to check emails received very carefully, and if it is from a source not known to you, delete it.”

Allan Maguire Head of Development and Regeneration stated: “Highland Council has received a large volume of applications and we are working through these.  Any correspondence in relation to such an application will be from an official Highland Council email address and will provide full contact details at the footer of the email should the business need to do so.”

Businesses wishing advice on scam avoidance should in the first instance visit the Highland Council Trading Standards COVID19 website.

Members of the public wishing advice on a particular matter can contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or visit consumeradvice.scot

20 Apr 2020
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