Northern Ireland news

Public warned to be aware of scammers following £100 high street voucher scheme launch

There have been reports of cold callers arriving at peoples' homes alleging they can help them apply for a voucher

MEMBERS of the public have been warned to be aware of scammers following the launch of the £100 high street voucher scheme.

There have been reports of cold callers arriving at peoples' homes alleging they can help them apply for a voucher.

The £145 million scheme opened for applications on Monday and will provide everyone over the age of 18 with a £100 pre-paid card to spend in shops and the hospitality sector.

But police said there have been up to 10 cold calls related to the voucher scheme, which are believed to have happened in the North Down and Ards council area.

The calls are understood to have happened last week ahead of the launch of the scheme.

Eddie Lynch, the Commissioner for Older People, urged people to be aware of scammers.

"Unfortunately, there will always be those who will seize any opportunity to steal from individuals and I want to remind everyone to be vigilant," he said.

"I am aware of cold callers who have been claiming to help people with applying for the scheme and requesting bank details.

"At no point during the application will you be asked for your bank details, nor should you receive cold callers to your door claiming they can assist you with the process."

PSNI Supt Gerard Pollock also told the BBC: "What they [the scammers] are presenting as or what they are telling the member of the public is that they're going to apply to the scheme for them, take their details and then they will receive the £100 voucher to their home address.

"There is no process to do that and there will be no one officially from the Department for the Economy or any official person calling at your home address to take your details in order to register you for the scheme.

"If you're contacted out of the blue, either by phone or by text or by someone you don't know, seeking to get you enrolled for the scheme, that's a clear sign that it might be a scam."

Read more: How to apply for Northern Ireland's £100 high street voucher

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