The cost of living is increasing with many people cutting back on what they spend in a bid to save as much money as possible.
In order to help ease any financial pressure, nearly a quarter of households across Scotland received £326 in their bank accounts.
The payment is the first instalment of the £650 sum delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help families struggling with rising energy bills. The second £324 instalment will be paid in the autumn.
Now people at Money Saving Expert (MSE) have said people should stay alert and look out for three cost of living scams – all of which involve targeting your bank account.
Writing on their website the financial experts have said that despite the current circumstances, this will not stop fraudsters with criminals increasingly trying to capitalise on the cost of living crisis by “targeting households with bogus offers of rebates, grants and support payments.”
However they warn that “official Government support payments are usually automatic, so if you get a request for information out of the blue via text, email, or phone call – be wary.”
So what are the three scams you need to keep an eye on? Here’s what you need to know.
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1. DWP cost of living payment warning
DWP have said to MSE that they had seen texts claiming to come from “Gov.org” and one which said it was from DWP. Others have received scam texts followed up by an email asking them to call a fake number to provide more info also – however people are being warned that they do not need to do anything to get the payment as if you are eligible, you’ll automatically receive the money straight into your bank account.
You can find out more about these payments here.
2. Councils will never call to ask for your bank details
A number of councils across the UK which represent local authorities are urging households not to give out their bank or card details over the phone if they get a call about the £150 council tax rebate.
MSE adds: “In most cases, the rebate is paid automatically to those who pay their council tax by direct debit – and most people who pay by direct debit should have received their payment by now. For those who don’t pay by direct debit, most councils are collecting bank details using secure online forms. If you get a call and you’re not sure the caller is genuine, hang up and call your council directly using the contact number on its website.”
3. Ofgem £400 energy rebate scam
MSE have warned that energy regulator Ofgem has written to “all domestic energy providers asking them to make customers aware of a scam text inviting people to apply for a bogus £400 rebate.”
They explain: “In May, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that all households with an electricity supply would receive a £400 grant. However, this will be paid in lump sums from October automatically – there’s no need to apply.
“You will never be texted by Ofgem to sign up to anything in order to get money or a rebate – so if you get a text like this, don’t respond to it or click any links.”
You can read about what to do if you have been scammed on MSE’s website here.