As the Department for Work and Pensions start making the Cost Of Living payment to people throughout the country the Money Saving Expert website is using a warning about scams. Con artists are trying to take advantage of the crisis through offering them fake rebates, grants and support payments.
Yesterday (July 14) the DWP started paying the £326 cost of living payment into accounts and the department has now warned people not to give out personal information over text or email. That is because all Government payments are usually automatic payments directly into claimants’ bank accounts.
First up from the Money Saving Expert is to be aware if you receive a text asking you to claim for Cost Of Living help. That is because the payment for that is automatic.
The DWP have said that they have seen texts that are claiming to come from “Gov.org” and one from DWP. Some of those texts have also been followed up by an email that asks them to phone a fake number to provide more information.
However it is important to know that you do not need to apply for the payment; it will be automatically paid to you if you are eligible. Another warning from the Money Saving Expert says that councils will never call you and ask for your bank details.
A number of councils throughout the UK have been urging residents not to give out bank details over the phone if they are contacted about the £150 council tax rebate. In the majority of cases the money will be paid automatically if you pay your council tax through direct debit.
Most councils who need your bank details are doing it through secure online forms. The advice from the Money Saving Expert is if you are unsure if the call is genuine, hang up and ring your council directly using the contact number on the councils website.
The final scam warning comes as scammers are telling people that Ofgem are giving out a £400 energy rebate but that is not true. This comes as a result of former Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing that households with an electricity supply will get a £400 grant.
However that grant will be paid in one lump sum automatically in October and there is no need to apply. You will not be contacted by Ofgem to sign up for the payment therefore if you are contacted do not click any of the links.
If you’re worried you’ve been scammed, here’s what to do
If you’ve already responded to a scam, stop all communication immediately.
Call your bank directly and ask them to cancel any recurring payments. For speed and ease, you can call the new 159 hotline .
Report the scam to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or you report a scam anonymously on the Action Fraud website.
If you need further help you can contact Citizens Advice Scams Action via the Citizens Advice website, or call its Scams Action helpline on 0808 250 5050.
Here’s how you can report a wide variety of scams quickly
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) set out a number of different ways to report scams depending on what type of scam it is:
Email scams. If you get a suspicious looking email, you can report it to the NCSC by forwarding it to email@example.com. Do not click on any links within these emails.
Text scams. If you get a suspicious text message, you can forward it onto the number 7726 – this will allow your provider to track the origin of the text and arrange to block or ban the sender if it’s a scam. You can also report scam text messages to firstname.lastname@example.org by providing a screenshot of the text message.
Website scams. If you notice a website that doesn’t look quite right, you can report the URL to the NCSC directly via its online form .
- Scam adverts. These can be reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) through its online form . However as the new Online Safety Bill will include online scam ads , it means regulators like Ofcom, will have to work proactively with social media platforms and search engines to take them down. In the meantime, you should report any scam ads to the ASA.