Ofgem warns of energy rebate scam targeting ‘vulnerable’ consumers

Ofgem warns of energy rebate scam targeting ‘vulnerable’ consumers

Scammers are sending out phony SMS purporting to be the government offering reductions on energy bills in an effort to take advantage of the continuing energy and cost of living crises.

People are informed by the fraudulent mails, which seem to be from GovUK, that they are qualified to apply online for a lower energy bill as part of the Energy Bill Support Scheme.

However, the communications are fake. The $400 energy bill credit will be instantly applied.

A increase in “claims of fraudsters suggesting you may obtain the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme by enrolling bank information,” the energy company Ofgem told MailOnline.

The government’s plan to provide all UK families with a subsidy that would help them save £400 on their energy bills starting in October is what led to the scam efforts.

Those using pre-payment meters will have the amount put to their meter or alternatively get a voucher, but customers who utilize direct debit or credit will have the money credited to their accounts.

The fake SMS have come from a variety of different phone numbers. While some of the communications purport to be from “UK Help,” others have been sent by “Help Schemes” or unidentified numbers.

“GOVUK: You are eligible for a lower energy bill under the Energy Bills Support Scheme,” the notice states. Apply right here.

After then, a link is included in an effort to get readers to click it and visit the official government website.

However, the hyperlink takes them to a scammer’s website where their banking or personal information may be taken.

Social media has been used by users to question the veracity of the statements.

One disgruntled user wrote: “Just got an SMS saying I’m qualified for the GOVT energy assistance plan. Just go here.”

It doesn’t take long for the next fraud to join the craze. Despicable.’

Another person commented: “There are several scam SMS circulating that offer cheaper energy costs. This SMS message was sent to me today from three distinct numbers.

Poor, praying on helpless people.

Another warned: “Thank heavens I work in the energy business enough to recognize it was false, since it seemed so convincing. My mum received a scam mail regarding the energy bills help plan.”

Additionally, MPs have warned their people about the shady texts.

The Energy Bill Support Scheme is the target of a fraud, according to Caroline Dinenage, the Tories’ Gosport MP.

 

“People have reported receiving a text message purporting to be from the government that included a link to the Energy Bill Support Scheme application.” This is a swindle.

Chris Bryant, a Labour politician for Rhondda, posted a picture of a spam email he had received and commented, “I assume this is a scam?

It occurs only days after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a 25% increase in fraud from pre-pandemic levels.

Cybercrime accounted for about two thirds of the 4.5 million fraud offenses that were reported in the year leading up to March 2022.

The number of “claims of fraudsters stating you may access the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme by entering bank information, although the discount is automatic” has increased, according to Ofgem.

The energy company’s representative warned the MailOnline that if you get a message asking for your bank information, it may be a hoax.

It is disturbing that vulnerable customers are being preyed upon in this manner when they are already suffering so much because protecting consumers is our top responsibility.

We have encouraged all energy providers to make sure that clear and current information on scams is readily available on their websites in addition to releasing our own warnings and recommendations. We take these consumer exploitation efforts extremely seriously.

No one has to apply for the Energy Bills Support Scheme or get in touch with their energy provider, according to a department of business, energy, and industrial strategy spokeswoman.

The majority of consumers will get it immediately on their monthly bill, while those with pre-payment meters will get credits or vouchers directly from the electrical company.

Consumers need to be on the lookout for such scams and report them when they become aware of them. No household should ever be approached for their bank information.

Yesterday, Lloyd’s Bank warned its clients of phony emails purporting to be from British Gas seeking direct debit payment information.

The bank said that con artists acting as British Gas employees are attempting to defraud hard-working British households of thousands of pounds by posing as employees of the energy providers.

The victim’s most recent energy bill direct debit allegedly failed, and as a consequence, their power could be turned off, according to the false email sent by scammers.

Lloyds cautioned users not to respond to the texts, warning that they are a fraud.

Lloyds warned consumers in a statement: “You could get an email that seems to be from British Gas.”

It will state that your gas supply can be turned off since your most recent direct debit payment was unsuccessful.

To verify and change your payment information, click on the link that they have provided. This is fraud.

The link leads to a fraudulent website that tries to get your personal or financial information.

The Suspicious Email Reporting Service received reports of 1,567 phishing emails relating to Ofgem scam emails in the two weeks between August 22 and August 5, according to Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.

It is terrible that criminals are preying on the people at a time of economic distress by claiming they are entitled to rebates and refunds, according to Detective Chief Inspector Hayley King of the City of London Police.

‘If an email is legitimate, the business would never pressure you into providing your information. Always pause to determine if the request you are receiving is legitimate.

Speaking at the time, an OfGem representative said: “Protecting consumers is our main concern and it is appalling that vulnerable customers are being preyed upon in this manner when people are already suffering so much.”

People who worry about being conned are advised to get in touch with organizations directly rather than calling or visiting any numbers or websites.

It is advised for anybody who has previously fallen for a scam to contact their bank right away and stop any recurring payments.

The police may also be notified about scams by calling action Fraud at 0300 123 2040.

The OfGem representative said, “Real businesses won’t mind if you contact them back; only con artists put pressure on you and demand that you give them your information right away.

Consumers are advised to contact the organization directly rather than using the phone number or address provided in the message. Instead, use the information found on the organization’s official website.

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