UK: Fraudsters could reap £420m from COVID-19 Bounce Back scheme
16 Dec 2020

Fraudsters could make off with over £400m ($533m) of UK taxpayer money stolen through COVID-19 support loans.

UK bank bosses told MPs on Monday they were seeing fraud rates on Bounce Bank loans around five times higher than normal.

The rough figure suggests fraudsters could make as much as £420m through the loans, which are 100% backed by the government. A senior executive at HSBC (HSBA.L) said criminals were specifically targeting the scheme, including by posing as PPE suppliers.

“We’ve seen criminals this year repurpose their infrastructure and amend how they interact with us,” Amanda Murphy, head of commercial banking UK at HSBC, told the Treasury Select Committee.

Murphy said gangs “exploit the fears that have come around pandemics, particularly around the supply of PPE.”

David Oldfield, chief executive of Lloyds (LLOY.L) commercial banking, said the net fraud rate on Lloyds’ Bounce Back loans was around 1%, which “is probably about five times higher than we see in normal” lending. He described it as “a large number” in the scheme of things.

Lloyds has lent billions of pound through Bounce Bank loans, meaning fraud losses could be in the tens of millions.

By Oscar Williams-Grut, Yahoo Finance, 15 December 2020

Read more at Yahoo Finance

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