Trading Standards Service has warned businesses and other organisations to be on their guard after a Co Down nursery lost £1,650 as a result of an elaborate scam.
The scam, which involved an email from a seemingly legitimate source, invited applications for a government grant to fund advertising and marketing and included links for further information brochures and an application form.
“Although the business name, addresses and online paperwork were very convincing, government organisations do not seek money up front from organisations in order for them to obtain a grant,” a Trading Standards Service spokesperson explained.
“The elaborate scam involved the organisation making a 30 per cent contribution towards a total grant fund of £5,500. The organisation would then be able to access this supervised account and withdraw funding as required for appropriate purposes.”
The Department for the Economy declined to give any further details about the location of the nursery that was scammed, but Bill Malloy from Trading Standards Service has urged businesses and other organisations across Northern Ireland to be vigilant.
“Everyone should be on their guard as it is not only consumers who can be targeted by scammers. Any type of business or organisation can be a potential victim. Unscrupulous fraudsters will stop at nothing and the offer of a grant is often used by these criminals as a lure to snare the unwary,” he said.
Anyone who feels that they have been the victim of a scam should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or alternatively log onto the Consumerline website at http://nidirect.gov.uk