Beware this free school meals phishing scam

Published Friday, 19th June 2020

Parents and carers in Hartlepool are being warned to watch out for a nationwide phishing email posing as an official communication relating to free school meals.

Some parents and carers around the country have received an email asking them to provide their bank details by clicking on a link.

The email says: “If your child’s school is closed and your child is entitled to free school meals, send your bank details to the schools and they will help with funding while the schools are closed.” 

Noel Adamson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Head of Audit and Governance, said: “We would urge parents to be on the alert for emails such as these, purporting to be from reputable organisations such as 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 free school meals in Hartlepool would be sent directly by Hartlepool Borough Council to the named recipient and would never ask the recipient to send us their bank details or click on any link.

“If anyone is uncertain whether a communication about free school meals has indeed come from ourselves, they can check with our Benefits team on 01429 284188 or email

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