THIS week, I have some information about two energy scams in action.
First of all, scammers are impersonating EON, promising an £85 refund in an attempt to steal your details and money. As the UK’s energy crisis deepens and households are set to see a record 54% increase to the price cap this April, it’s no surprise scammers are impersonating energy providers to try to catch you out. TheEON email scams, known as phishing scams, are used by scammers to steal your personal information and bank details, or in some cases, the emails have malicious software attached which can infect your computer, tablet or mobile phone with a virus. These emails impersonate EON claiming the recipients have been overcharged and are eligible for an £85 refund. The sender’s name is shown as ‘E.ON GAS REFUND’ – or, sometimes ‘E.ON PAYMENT REFUND’ – but has no connection with the energy provider. The email address it’s actually from is random and not EON’s. If you get one of these, forward the email email@example.com, then delete it and block the sender.
Next, a phishing email purporting to be from British Gas is fraudulently promising customers a ‘refund’ of more than £400. Have you come across it? The message, which does not name the recipient, says: “Hello, we sent you a gas bill for £3.71, and we still haven’t received payment. If you’ve paid it in the last five days, please ignore this email. To see if your payment has cleared you can check your account.
“If we do not receive a payment or hear from you in the next two days and we have to contact you again, you will be charged £140 to cover our reasonable costs. If we have to visit your property to collect this debt you will be charged £540.
“If the debt remains unpaid we plan to obtain a court warrant to visit your home and either replace your gas meter with a pay as you go meter or disconnect your gas supply. This could result in additional charges of up to £402. If your gas supply is disconnected we will charge you £750 to reconnect your supply. Pay us online now.”
Our advice is If you have received an email like this, it’s not from British Gas. If you receive this email or anything else suspicious, don’t click on the links.You should attach it to a new email and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete the original and block the sender.
Finally this week, National Trading Standards for whom I volunteer as a Scam Marshall, tells me about another scam text message circulating. This one claims to be from Santander suggesting new direct debits have been set up on the recipient’s account and is an attempt to trick people into clicking on potentially harmful links. As always, our advice is that if you receive a suspicious text, forward it to 7726 to report it to your telephone operator. If you have lost money to a scam and you paid with a credit or debit card, or used an account transaction, tell your bank as soon as possible.
If you are scammed online, you can contact Citizens Advice over the phone (Mon — Fri 9am to 5pm) on 0808 250 5050, or via webchat, or use the online helper tool to identify whether something is a scam at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/check-if-something-might-be-a-scam/