Number spoofing scam: Woman says to delete messages
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From October, households will begin receiving £400 off their energy bills, with the discount made in six instalments to help people across the winter. However, sadly fraudsters are seeking to take advantage of this real support by concocting a series of schemes in a brand new wave of fraud.
Ofgem, the energy regulator, took to social media to warn Britons about “rising reports” of scammers attempting to impersonate legitimate energy firms.
Their post read: “There are rising reports of text, email and phone scams impersonating energy firms.
“For example, from thieves saying your energy supply has switched and asking for your payment details.”
One email of this kind alleges to be from Ofgem, telling people they are eligible to apply for the energy bill rebate – a form of support individuals will be looking out for.
It reads: “The Government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills.
“This includes a £200 discount on their energy bill this autumn for domestic electricity customers and a £250 non-repayable council tax rebate for all households liable for council tax.
“Payment will be processed straight into your bank account. You can get your rebate via Ofgem portal by clicking the button below.”
If Britons engage with the email and click the button, they could be redirected towards an official-looking website which asks for their personal details such as bank account information.
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Although the website will claim to be using this information to process a rebate, it is all actually a ruse designed to get Britons to part with their details.
These could then be used by scammers to commit identity fraud, or even clear out a person’s bank account, leaving them financially vulnerable.
It could be devastating for those who are heavily relying upon the real £400 rebate for support this winter, as energy bills are set to skyrocket.
Similarly, there have also been reports of people receiving calls, persuading them to hand over bank details to process a rebate – but these are also fraudulent.
Ofgem has offered guidance in order to help Britons protect themselves from being targeted and help people to understand legitimate correspondence.
The energy regulator is unlikely to email people directly, as they should receive correspondence via their energy supplier.
Individuals should always “reject, refuse or ignore” contact which claims to be from Ofgem and asks for banking or personal details. Ofgem says they will never ask for this information.
Similarly, individuals are encouraged to check email addresses, as any emails to or from Ofgem always end in @ofgem.gov.uk.
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Finally, people should always be cautious, regardless of the type of correspondence they receive. Only criminals will try to rush or panic people.
Those who believe they have been a victim of fraud should take action by calling Action Fraud or Police Scotland.
In an emergency, individuals are always urged to call 999 – especially if they feel threatened or unsafe.
The real cost of living payment was announced by former Chancellor Rishi Sunak back in May, as part of efforts to help with the rising pressures of soaring energy bills.
However, Britons will not need to take any action in order to secure their energy bill rebate this winter.
This is because it will be automatically applied to bills by suppliers from the opening date in October.
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