The National Audit Office has estimated that more than half of the loans under the Government’s pandemic “Bounce Back” scheme may be fraudulent. Matthew Lynn in the Spectator has more.
We learned today that the ‘Bounce Back’ loan scheme may well have been defrauded to the tune of £26 billion – serious cash even for a Government that has recently discovered the magic money tree. According to a report from the National Audit Office there were so few checks in place when the scheme was hurriedly put together that it was simple for fraudsters to set up a company in a borrowed name, take out a state guaranteed loan, and then disappear with the cash before anyone knew what was happening.
We will find out just how many of the loans were fraudulent when repayment is finally demanded. But the NAO reckons it is more than half of them. The colossal sums of money stolen were more than the entire amount spent on police and prisons every year (which seems a shame, since they might be busy with all the fraud going on), or the total dished out to students in loans annually. In other words, it was a lot.
And that may be just the tip of the iceberg once you add in all the misuse of furlough, start-up rescue packages and Eat Out to Help Out. Does this help explain why the public was so supportive of the lockdown?
Worth reading Matthew Lynn’s piece in full.
Fake NHS App Fools Bars and Restaurants
An enterprising individual has built an app that creates a fake check-in confirmation screen to fool door staff. Vice has more.
First developed for the Android operating system, and later made available to iPhone users as a browser-based service, the app allows users to type in the name of a venue to generate a false check-in page, which can be used to gain entry without scanning a QR code or providing contact information.
“A little present for you and your friends,” read one message forwarded to several Telegram channels used by anti-lockdown activists. “Fake track and trace, as London was a nightmare to get into places and we was refused entry in nearly all places without abiding to track and trace, which I’m sure left us all with no entry at all… if you click the link before entering it will show that you have checked in on your screen. It will always change date times for you. Enjoy.”
Shamefully, however, Vice has doxxed the app’s creator – a Nordic walking instructor and herbal medicine practitioner based in South Wales. That’s extraordinary, not least because Vice routinely publishes articles in which it protects the identity of drug dealers and other law breakers. In Vice‘s view, if you sell illegal drugs you deserve anonymity, but if you develop an app that enables people to evade state surveillance you deserve to go to jail.