Don’t get hooked by this business grant phishing scam

Published Friday, 15th May 2020

Finance chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council are warning local businesses to watch out for a nationwide phishing email posing as an official communication about Coronavirus-related support grants.

Bearing a ‘GOV.UK’ heading and the title ‘Covid-19 Government Business Grants’, the email claims to be from the ‘Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer)’ of the local council and says that the recipient has been awarded the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

It asks the recipient to click on a link so that the grant payment can be made to a nominated bank account.

Phishing email

The phishing email

Noel Adamson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Head of Audit and Governance, said: “We would urge businesses to be on the alert for emails such as these, purporting to be from reputable organisations such as the Government or local authorities.

“Their aim is to try to get the recipient to reveal personal information such as passwords and financial details by clicking on a hyperlink or opening an attachment. The fraudsters then use these details to try to steal the recipient’s money from their bank account.

“If you receive a suspicious-looking email, never click on any attachment or link.

“Any communication about Coronavirus-related business support grants in Hartlepool would be sent directly by Hartlepool Borough Council to the named recipient.

“If Hartlepool companies are uncertain whether a grant-related communication has indeed come from ourselves, they can check with our Revenues team on 01429 284277 or email

For more information about scams visit Action Fraud – the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre - at or call 0300 123 2040.