Benefit claimants are being targeted by scammers offering low-cost loans or grants from the government.
You might be called by someone claiming to work for Jobcentre Plus, or contacted through social media ads. Many of the scammers have convincing websites, with government logos and testimonials.
They might ask for your ID and bank details. Then offer to make a claim for Universal Credit and apply for an advance payment on your behalf – taking some of this money as their fee.
However, the full amount of advance payments need to be repaid out of future Universal Credit payments. So you’ll end up paying back the whole amount borrowed.
It’s also important not to be tempted by these offers if you’re already claiming any of the benefits that are being replaced by Universal Credit. For example, tax credits or Housing Benefit.
This is because your old benefits will stop, and the money you get on Universal Credit might be less than you’re getting now.
If you’re offered a government loan and asked to give your ID and bank details, the scammer might be trying to make a Universal Credit application without your knowledge. It’s important to not give out these details – as you might not be entitled to Universal Credit and this could be seen as benefit fraud.
Are you waiting for your first Universal Credit payment and need help applying for an advance payment? Then the Citizens Advice Help to Claim Service will help you get the payment you need for free.
For details, see the ‘Help with an online application for Universal Credit’ section in this guide.