The Money Saving Expert team have warned people to be on the lookout for fraudsters.
The warning, from the team founded by Martin Lewis, comes as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) started making cost of living payments to millions of households on July 14. Criminals are increasingly trying to capitalise on the cost of living crisis by targeting households with bogus offers of rebates, grants and support payments.
People are urged not to give out sensitive personal information over text message or email. 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.
Here are three scams currently doing the rounds, and if you fall for it your bank account could be emptied in minutes. The list has been compiled by the DWP and MoneySavingExpert.com.
Texts asking you to claim or apply for cost of living help
You DON’T need to apply or do anything else to claim the cost of living payment, which is initially worth £326. If you’re eligible, you’ll automatically receive the money straight into your bank account.
DWP said it had seen texts claiming to come from “Gov.org” and one which said it was from DWP. It added that some people had received scam texts followed up by an email asking them to call a fake number to provide more info. So if you see texts or emails asking to to provide details to claim for the help be wary and report them.
Messages from ‘Councils’ asking for bank details for £150 tax rebate
Councils across the nation have urged households not to give out their bank or card details over the phone if they get a call about the £150 council tax rebate. The MSE website said: “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.”
Messages claiming that Ofgem is offering a £400 energy rebate
Ofgem is NOT offering a £400 energy rebate – so beware scammers telling you this.
“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.”
What to do if you have been scammed
- If you’ve already responded to a scam, end all further communication immediately.
- Call your bank directly and cancel any recurring payments – for speed and ease, you can alternatively call the new 159 hotline .
- Report the scam to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report a scam anonymously on the Action Fraud website. If you’re in Scotland, report a scam through Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or on the Advice Direct Scotland website. You can also report scams to Police Scotland on 101.
- If you wish to seek further help, contact Citizens Advice Scams Action via the Citizens Advice website, or call its Scams Action helpline on 0808 250 5050.
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