Be on high alert for energy-related scams, here is how to spot a bogus text
Residents in Flintshire have been warned to be on high alert for energy-related scams.
Citizens Advice has said over 40 million people have been targeted by scammers amidst the cost-of-living crisis. Out of this, 12% of scams are related to energy.
Scammers pray on vulnerabilities, such as financial worries.
As more people are worried about paying their bills right now, more people are at risk of being scammed.
Energy scams involve people pretending to be energy companies or regulators to get your money or personal information.
They can use the availability of grants, promises of cheap energy, and energy efficiency claims as tactics to trick you.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to protect yourself and the people around you from energy scams.
Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at Uswitch.com, offers advice on how to spot an energy scam text:
“There are many fraudulent emails and texts circulating at the moment, aimed to trick people into believing they’re being offered extra help with their energy bills.
“Known as ‘phishing’ scams, these have been created by fraudsters who are posing as organisations such as Ofgem or the UK Government.
“The £400 energy bill support scheme, available to all households, is given automatically by your providers, and you will not need to offer any personal information to receive it.”
Uswitch tips on how to spot and handle a scam text:
- Spell check. Does the message contain spelling mistakes? If so, it is most likely a scam. Professional organisations will almost never make spelling or grammatical errors.
- Surprise text. Were you expecting the text message? If not, this could be a sign that the fraudsters are trying to catch you off guard.
- Repeat caller. Have you received a genuine text from this organisation before? If so, check to see whether they’re from the same sender. You can also find the organisation’s contact details via their official website, or give their customer service team a call to check the text for you.
- Dodgy links. Does the text include suspicious links? Never click on links within a text you’re not sure about. Again check via the organisation’s customer service team, as clicking a scammer’s link could result in your personal details being taken, or even your money.
- Ignorance is bliss. Do not reply to a suspicious text – even if you want to catch them out. Replying will alert them that your number is in use and active, leaving you open to future scam attempts.
- Block, report, delete. If you’re concerned about a scam text, block the sender and take a screenshot of the text for evidence. You should report the text to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or on their website, then delete the message.
What are some common energy scams?
Ofgem energy scams
A scammer may contact you claiming to be from the energy regulator Ofgem. They may ask you to change your bank details or provide personal information to receive funding or cheap energy.
Ofgem will never ask you for personal information and you don’t need to do anything to receive £400 off your energy bills this winter. Ofgem will also never sell you energy or show up at your house.
Which? also warned earlier this month about bogus emails using the Ofgem logo and branding sent to consumers claiming to offer an ‘energy bill rebate scheme’. More here.
Energy rebate scams
Recently, scammers have been using the £400 government energy bill rebate scheme to trick people into handing over their details. Other tactics have included promises of sums of money to people of pension age or with disabilities. For more information on the energy bill rebate scheme, see this blog on how to get £400 off your energy bills from October.
Energy efficiency and home improvement scams
Another way a scammer might try to trick you is by telling you that your home is unsafe, and changes must be made immediately to prevent harm to you and your household. This can be extremely worrying, and it’s always best to put your mind at rest by calling Citizens Advice or checking with a qualified and accredited professional.
For more information, see this blog from Citizens Advice on common energy efficiency scams.
Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com