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Genuine letter sent to Northern Ireland benefits recipients asking for bank details causes ‘scam’ scare

Several hundred people have raised concerns over whether a letter asking for bank account details for benefits payments is actually a scam.

Over 700 people shared a post on the Beechmount Residents Collective Facebook page about the letter sent out with Department for Communities letterhead.

Some benefits recipients still use the post office to collect their payments and the letter requests alternative payment arrangements as this method is being phased out by the UK's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

A spokesperson for the west Belfast residents group said they would seek clarification on the letter, adding - “We aren't certain whether this a scam or not.”

Almost 200 comments were left by people including an individual claiming to work for the post office who said a high number of vulnerable members of the community were concerned after receiving one of these letters.

Others commented that they didn't trust the logo on the letter as it looked “dodgy”.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Communities has confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph that a letter has been issued to benefits claimants in Northern Ireland who currently have benefits paid into post office accounts.

“Claimants are asked to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide alternative banking or credit union account details for future payments,” she said.

“This information will be held securely by DWP.

“If claimants have any concerns they should contact DWP on the number included in the letter which is 0800 085 7133 or textphone 0800 085 7146 who can discuss the process.”

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