Welfare Warning As Scammers Prey On People Over Pandemic Payments

File image: Government Official Elizabeth Canavan/RollingNews

The government has told the public to be aware of fraudulent text messages telling people that they are eligible for the €350-a-week Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, as the number of people claiming the payment has fallen for the first time since it was introduced in mid-March with 589,000 people now receiving the payment.

That’s a fall of 9,000 on last week in the scheme that’s costing the state around €206m-a-week. Senior government official Liz Canavan (main picture) said that it’s believed many of these people are now getting payments under the government’s temporary wage subsidy scheme.

She also said that approximately 98,000 people have contacted the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to close their PUP claims via www.gov.ie.

She said that the department is “aware that some people have received fraudulent text messages, stating that they are due a Covid-19 pandemic payment and asking them to click on a link to apply,”We wish to categorically confirm that these texts are not from the government.”

“Anyone who receives such a text message should not click on the link or reply to the text.”

Meanwhile 53,200 employers signed up to the temporary wage subsidy scheme covering 456,200 workers. The cumulative cost of the scheme now stands at €878m.

The Citizens Information Service and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) – are still available during the crisis.