Farmers in the UK are continuing to be targeted in bank fraud scams, according to the National Farmers' Union.
Over the weekend, members in the Borders and Angus received fake phone calls and have contacted NFUS about unsuccessful attempts to strip thousands of pounds out of their farm accounts. Unfortunately, in recent weeks, a small number of Scottish farmers have been defrauded of substantial sums of money.
Given that reports of fraudsters contacting farmers are increasing and businesses have been affected, the Union feels vigilance must be stepped up.
Fraudsters contact farmers claiming that they represent their bank and that suspicious payments or cheques have been set up or drawn against their farm accounts. They then ask farmers to provide account details to make the account secure, with the intent of illegally accessing and using the funds in that account.
NFU Scotland’s Finance Director Colin Gordon said: “We are placing members on high alert as the number of farm businesses being targeted by fraudsters continues to grow. This is such a busy time of year for farming with lambing, calving and sowing that farmers could be easily caught out by alarming calls from people claiming to represent their bank’s fraud department.
“These criminals are organised, calculating and convincing – please do not fall for this. Some Scottish farmers now know from bitter experience that if you unwittingly provide your account information to the fraudsters, they will use it to strip your account.
“The banks have asked us to remind farmers that there are a number of simple things to remember to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of deception. Firstly, your bank will never phone or email you and ask for your account or password information. They will never ask you to make a payment over the phone by using your online account.
“Secondly, if you receive a call claiming to be from your bank and they suggest that you call them back, ensure that you can hear a dial tone first or, where possible, call the bank using a separate phone line from the one on which you received the inbound call. That will prevent a fraudster holding the line open to intercept your return call.
“Farmers need to be aware – but not alarmed – by this scam but any farmer who is concerned should contact their bank.”