To support people and businesses through the pandemic, the government has introduced over 150 Covid support schemes. I know from speaking to constituents just what a lifeline these schemes have been. Nonetheless, in my role as a Cabinet Office Minister, I have also been concerned to see criminals try to manipulate and defraud the system. Given how hard people are working to pay their taxes and contribute to public services, I see it as a gross injustice that fraudsters are taking advantage of measures set up to help everyone through this time of national crisis.
Last week, in an initiative between government and the independent charity, Crimestoppers, I launched a new COVID Fraud Hotline which members of the public can call anonymously and free of charge to report suspected fraudulent activity. While fraud is a hidden crime and can take time to be discovered, the public can still look out for telltale signs like unusual buying activity by companies and individuals, as well as cold calling by those falsely claiming that they are from the government, offering money for schemes. The COVID Fraud Hotline is open 24/7, 365 days a year on 0800 587 5030 or people can fill in the simple and secure anonymous form at Covidfraudhotline.org.
For more information, visit https://forms.theiline.co.uk/crimestopperscovidfraudhotline