Q Radio News/PA
Around 100,000 people who applied to Northern Ireland’s high street voucher scheme have received emails telling them that their details could not be automatically verified.
Stormont’s Department for the Economy has told the public that the email from the address firstname.lastname@example.org is legitimate and not a scam.
The high street stimulus scheme will see all those aged over 18 eligible for a £100 pre-paid card to spend, aimed at supporting local businesses, which have been devastated by Covid.
So far, more than 1.3 million applications for the card have been received, and over 1.2 million of them have been verified.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: “We have always said when someone applies for the card there would be a verification process that would be done online.
“We had hoped that people would be caught by the electoral register or through your driving licence number or other information that would be able to be verified.
“Unfortunately, for a number of people that is not the case and so we are having to verify in another way.
“We are not closing this down to people who didn’t pass the first stage of the verification, what we are doing is opening it up to them to present their own evidence.”
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons: “We have always said when someone applies for the card there would be a verification process that would be done online"
A statement said: “The Department needs to contact around 100,000 people in this way in order to complete their applications.
“The email may arrive into your junk folder. If this has happened, please move the email into your inbox folder before you access the link to upload your documents.
“The email will ask recipients to upload further information to verify their identity. Please follow the instructions in the email carefully.”
The department also said that some people may have had difficulties uploading their documents due to the file format, but that this issue has now been resolved.
The statement continued: “You have seven days from receipt of the email to complete the verification required. This applies only to those people who have received the email.
“The existing deadline for new applications for a Spend Local card remains midnight on Monday October 25 for online applications and 6pm the same day for telephone applications.”