Residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area are being warned about a new energy bill text scam that tries to trick people into handing over their personal and financial information by pretending to be from the UK Government.
The callous con claims to be from “UK Help” and tells people they are eligible to apply for the £400 energy rebate, which will start being deducted from millions of bills across the country from next month.
However, the £400 energy rebate discount will be made automatically – nobody needs to apply for it.
The Government guidance on the real energy rebate page warns that if you get a message asking for your bank details, it is a scam.
The link takes you to a copy of the Energy Bills Support Scheme page on GOV.UK, with the addition of a ‘START NOW’ button, which has been created by the cybercriminals.
The fake page states: “Register now to receive a £400 non-repayable discount under the Energy Bills Support Scheme.”
The ‘START NOW’ button then takes you to a page asking for your full name, phone number, date of birth, home address and email address.
It falsely claims: “We need this information to determine how much you are eligible for. This information will only be provided to your energy supplier.”
The next page asks you to select your energy provider, before asking for your card number, expiry date and security code – which has been misspelt and reads ‘secuirty’.
Several residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area have received the scam and one father who received the scam text said: “It came through at 4.47am so it was there on my phone as soon as I woke up. I was still half-asleep but luckily I realised it didn’t look right.”
“Obviously I’m worried about energy bills this winter just like everybody else and I’m looking forward to getting the £400 from the UK Government. It would be only too easy to click on this link and give away your details without thinking too much about it.”
“These scam texts really make me angry but this has to be one of the most sickening yet. The criminals are preying on our worries about heating our homes this winter.”
If you receive the scam text message, forward it to 7726 – it’s free. This will report the message to your mobile phone provider. You can also report it to the National Cyber Security Centre by emailing email@example.com.
Multiple scams posing as energy watchdog Ofgem have been in circulation since the UK Government announced a £400 energy bill discount for all households.
An Ofgem spokesperson said: “It is alarming that vulnerable customers are being preyed upon in this way when people are already struggling so much.”
“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 consumers very seriously.”