Farmers who receive subsidy payments have been reminded by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to be on the lookout for fraudsters.

Subsidy claimants have been encouraged to take measures to ensure they do not fall victim to these types of scams over the coming months.

Previously, farmers have received texts, emails and telephone calls claiming to be from the RPA or the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Links to a website mocked up to look like an RPA or Defra online service can sometimes be included in the message.

Criminals have also been known to pose as banks, as well as authorities such as the police, to attempt to extort money though illegitimate means.

The RPA has now issued new guidance:

We do not send emails or text messages with links to websites asking you to confirm your personal details or payment information.

“We strongly advise anyone who receives such a request not to open the link and delete the item.”

How to prevent being caught out by fraud

There has been a rise in cases of fraud during 2020 from impersonating official websites.

As fraudsters may target those who receive subsidy payments, the RPA said people who claim the subsidy must:

  • 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;
  • Be cautious about what information you share externally, particularly on social media.

If you suspect an attempted fraud or feel you’ve been the subject of fraud, you can contact the RPA’s Fraud Referral Team.