Be scam aware

We are in the thick of a cost-of-living crisis, and prices are rising at rates we haven’t seen since the 1970s.

Unfortunately, criminals are trying to capitalise on the current situation by targeting households with false offers of rebates, grants, and support payments.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has warned about scam messages claiming to be from local government authorities and the energy regulator Ofgem.

Below are 3 signs to watch out for if you are concerned you’re being scammed.

Beware texts asking you to claim or apply for cost-of-living help

If you’re eligible, you do not need to apply for the payment and you don’t need to call the DWP. They will never ask for personal details by SMS or email.

Councils will never call to ask for your bank details

Many councils, as well as the Local Government, have urged people not to give out their bank details over the phone and to not believe claims about a £150 council tax rebate.

In most cases, the rebate is paid automatically to those who pay their council tax by direct debit, and they should have received their payment by now. Your might have also received a letter from your council asking for your bank details so you can claim the rebate via bank transfer. If you are unsure, please contact your council directly.

If you get a call and you’re not sure the caller is genuine, hang up immediately and call your council directly to report the scam.

Ofgem is not offering a £400 energy rebate

You will never be texted by Ofgem to sign up for anything to receive money or a rebate, ignore any messages that suggest otherwise.

If you’re worried you’ve been scammed, here’s what to do

Below is a checklist of what you should do if you think you’ve 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