Warning as criminals exploit cost of living crisis to target the public with energy rebate scams

Action Fraud is urging the public to be aware of scam emails claiming to be from Ofgem as the cost of living crisis continues.

Energy prices are set to increase on 1 October 2022 and in the last two weeks, more than 1,500 reports have been made to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) about scam emails purporting to be about energy rebates from Ofgem, the independent energy regulator for Great Britain.

In the two weeks from Monday 22nd August to Monday 5th September 2022, a total of 1,567 phishing emails related to this scam were reported via the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS).

An Ofgem spokesperson said:

“Protecting consumers is our top priority and it is alarming that vulnerable customers are being preyed upon in this way when people are already struggling so much. That’s why, as energy regulator, on top of issuing our own warnings and advice, we have asked all energy suppliers to ensure clear and up to date information on scams is easily accessible on their websites.

“We take these attempts to exploit you very seriously and work with the National Cyber Security Centre to prevent these malicious attacks. If people are unsure if something is a scam they should pause, check and don’t let callers push you into anything.

“Genuine organisations won’t mind you calling back; only scammers apply pressure and insist you hand over details immediately. If you have any doubts about a message, consumers should contact the organisation directly and not use the numbers or address in the message – use the details from their official website.”

How to protect yourself

If you have any doubts about a message, contact the organisation directly.

Do not use the numbers or address contained in the message received – rather use the details from their official website. Remember, your bank (or any other official source) will never ask you to supply personal information via email.

If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk. Send us emails that feel suspicious, even if you’re not certain they’re a scam – we can check.

Follow the Take Five to Stop Fraud advice:
  • STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040, or call Police Scotland on 101. 

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