Gmail, Outlook and Hotmail users are being warned about a new scam email that tries to take advantage of concerns around the cost of living crisis. Amid spiralling household bills, scammers are spreading a bogus email which has been reported to Action Fraud – the UK’s national fraud and reporting centre – over 750 times in the space of just four days. The fake email claims to be from energy regulator Ofgem, and allegedly offers the recipient instructions on how to claim a Government rebate worth hundreds of pounds to help with their bills.
The genuine-looking email says consumers have up until June 1, 2022 to claim their rebate, with it then featuring a button that people are urged to click on to apply for the energy bill scheme.
However, this is all just part of a devious plan to exploit people’s concerns and get them to hand over sensitive personal and financial information.
Alerting the public to the threat, Action Fraud said: “Criminals target public with fake Ofgem emails.
“Action Fraud has received 752 reports in four days relating to fake emails purporting to be from Ofgem. The emails state that the recipient is eligible for a rebate as a result of a newly announced government scheme.
“The links in the emails lead to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal your personal and financial information.”
If you receive the bogus Ofgem email you can forward it to the Government’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service. The email address for this is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ofgem itself has also issued advice to the public about these scams, with the regulator saying it has received reports of people trying to impersonate the body and asking for financial information.
Ofgem said scammers may try to contact you and ask for money either by knocking at your door, through a phone call, on social media or with an email, via a pop-up message on a website, instant message or text message.
Advising people on how to stay safe, the energy regulator said: “These are energy scams. Ofgem would never sell you energy, ask for personal information or come to your property.
“Report the scam to Action Fraud, the reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, contact Police Scotland on 101.
“If you have given any of your personal information like your bank details, contact your bank immediately for help.”