Charity expects to see a surge in fraudulent attempts to manipulate struggling households
People have been warned to be aware of cost of living scams as the Energy Bills Support Scheme gets underway.
The first instalment of the UK government’s £400 discount on household fuel statements will be applied tomorrow (Saturday, 1 October).
Individual energy suppliers will administer discounts for customers and make payments over a six-month period to ensure consumers receive financial support through winter.
Advice Direct Scotland, the charity which runs the national consumer advice service consumeradvice.scot on behalf of the Scottish Government, said it expects to see a surge in fraudulent attempts to manipulate struggling households.
There are already several scams circulating relating to different sources of support, many of which claim from energy regulator Ofgem, or other organisations.
Advice Direct Scotland said it is important to remember that consumers do not need to apply for the discount:
- No household will be asked for their bank details to process payments, or to receive the rebates, and should not supply this information,
- And consumers should also avoid clicking on any links in emails or text messages, as these can take them to cloned websites that have the intention of stealing our personal or financial information. These links can also sometimes install malware on devices when clicked.
Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for Advice Direct Scotland, said: “With the Energy Bills Support Scheme coming into force, it is vital Scots consumers are aware of scams and how to avoid them.
“Scammers have been using emails, text messages and social media to try to trick people into parting with their personal and financial information.
“We are expecting to see an increase in the number of people receiving such requests.
“It’s important to note that the discount is applied automatically. There is no need to contact the government, your energy supplier, or anyone else.
“The most effective way to stop scammers in their tracks is to report a scam to scamwatch.scot when you see one.
“Anyone who is concerned or needs help should contact one of our specialist consumer advisers for free, impartial and practical advice.
“We also have our energyadvice.scot service available to anyone who needs advice on billing and meters, other energy-related matters, including the Energy Bill Support Scheme.”
More information on the Energy Bill Support Scheme can be found at www.energyadvice.scot
The simple ScamWatch Quick Reporting Tool is available to report suspected scams and suspicious activity at www.scamwatch.scot. You can also contact Police Scotland 101 or dial 999 in an emergency.