Applicants to Northern Ireland's Spend Local scheme have been reassured an email asking for further identity verification information is a legitimate request from the Department for the Economy. round 100,000 people whose details could not be verified automatically are to to be contacted in order to complete their application process and get the GBP100 card. The department said the email may be in junk folders and that the correspondence needed to be moved into the main inbox before clicking on links. There have been technical difficulties, which officials say have be resolved.
Those sent an email have seven days to complete the process. Some have already received the email which asks them to upload documentary evidence to support the application. The email states: "Thank you for applying to the High Street Scheme.
"However, it has not been possible to verify your identity (or the person that you have applied on behalf of) through automated checks of the data you provided against a range of Government databases. "This may be due to differences in how data was entered on the High Street Scheme application and how it is held on those databases." It continued: "In order for us to assess whether you (or the person that you have applied on behalf of) are eligible for the Spend Local pre-paid card, you will need to provide documentary evidence to support the application.
"You will need to upload 1 piece of evidence to prove you are resident in Northern Ireland, and upload 1 piece of evidence to prove your date of birth." A number of people on social media have reported receiving the email, with some querying the authenticity of the request. Sinn Fein's East Londonderry MLA Caoimhe Archibald said she has been contacted by a number of people asking about the email.
The MLA said she had contacted the Economy Minister Gordon Lyons who confirmed to her the email was "not a scam". Both online and telephone applications to the Spend Local scheme close on Monday, October 25. After this date it will no longer be possible to apply for the GBP100 pre-paid Spend Local card.
The Spend Local cards can be used in all participating businesses in Northern Ireland up until the 30 of November. Earlier this week it was revealed more than 160,000 people have not yet applied for the card. The Department for the Economy confirmed the email was genuine and said people who applied but could not be automatically verified for the card will start to receive the emails.
They said people should note the email may go to their junk folder. A spokesperson said: "Emails to those applicants who could not be automatically verified for a Spend Local card have started to issue. "The email from [email protected] may be in your Junk Folder.
If this has happened, please move the email into your Inbox Folder before you access the link to upload your documents. "Some people may have had difficulties uploading their documents due to the file format. This issue has now been resolved.
If you are continuing to have issues uploading your documents please try a different file format. "There is no requirement to send the requested information to the Spend Local or @Economy_NI email mailboxes - any documents sent to these mailboxes will not be processed." A statement added: "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 25 October for online applications and 6pm the same day for telephone applications. "If you have not yet made your application, please do so without delay.
Please also consider if you have friends or family members who may need help with applying." So far 1.3million applications have been made with 1.2m been verified. Officials said they were working to process applications as quickly as possible.
Cards will continue to be issued to successful applicants over the coming weeks.
More information about the scheme and details on how to apply are available at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/spend-local