Households warned against energy refund scam

Criminals are cold calling households asking for bank details to receive the government’s £150 energy rebate, the councils have warned. The government announced the refund earlier this year in response to soaring energy bills, with payments administered by local authorities for all households in municipal tax brackets A to D.

Councils urged residents to be alert to the scam, stressing that they would never ask for bank details over the phone. All households who pay council tax by direct debit will receive payment directly to their bank account and those who do not pay council tax by direct debit will receive a letter with details of the claim procedure.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said anyone who unexpectedly receives a text message, email or phone call requesting information or payment should not give out personal information, including bank details, click on links or respond until it can be sure it is genuine. If in doubt, owners should find the details of the organization claiming to be in contact online and check with them directly.

The pandemic has seen a surge in scams, which have included promises of payment from HM Revenue and Customs to support individuals during lockdown or offers to book vaccinations for a fee. Mohan Iyengar, Deputy Chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Council, said: “Criminals are becoming more sophisticated in their attempts to profit from the financial worries that people face and, as a result, good many of these scams seem legit on the face of it.

“Anyone can fall victim to a scam, and we urge people of all ages to familiarize themselves with the tell-tale signs and the support available to those in need. If you receive a message that you believe may be fraudulent, you can report it to your mobile operator or by forwarding the message to 7726, a free reporting service provided by telephone operators.”

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