Beware cost of living scams - what to look out for
As the rising cost of living impacts us all, it is important to be aware of scammers looking to take advantage.
Here are a few examples of scams going round:
Cost of living payments
Beware texts asking you to claim or apply for cost of living help – payments are automatic.
Such texts may say they are from Gov.org or DWP. You DON'T need to apply or do anything else to claim the payment, which is initially worth £326. If you're eligible, you'll automatically receive the money straight into your bank account.
NOTE - If you haven’t received your DWP Cost of Living Payment, you can report a missing payment online at Cost of Living Payment - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) - this link is legitimate.
Scammers doorstep cold call or stand outside Jobcentre Plus offices, offering a Government grant or ‘low-cost Government loans for a small fee.’
They get enough information to make an initial Universal Credit claim and request an advance payment. You then have to repay the loan you never had. Those affected have reported being approached by well-dressed individuals, carrying what looks like official ID.
There has been a rise in scammers claiming to be from one of the ‘big six’ energy companies, as well as Ofgem. They send emails, using official logos, claiming you have overpaid for your energy and ask you to fill out a form with personal and financial information for a refund. People are being warned about emails from firstname.lastname@example.org asking for the same thing.
There are also fake text messages claiming to be from GOVUK, with a scam link to energy.bill-rebate.com.
Scammers, pretending to work for your local council, phone up, saying you have overpaid your Council Tax and offer you a refund.
The scammer then requests bank details with the promise of a refund for the alleged overpayment, but instead, steals your savings.
Remember – the council will never ring you up to ask for your bank details.
Household Support Fund
Scammers claiming to be from your local councils are phoning people to say they are eligible for the Household Support Fund and ask for bank details. Councils would not phone people to request this information.
Loan fee fraud
Loan fee fraud occurs when people pay an upfront or advance fee for a loan they never receive. It’s an increasingly common scam which is reported to the Financial Conduct Authority, with people losing £280 on average.
Always check the provider is authorised by the FCA before you borrow. Visit https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/loan-fee-fraud for more information.
REMEMBER - You can protect yourself with this quick three-step check:
1. If you’re asked to pay an upfront fee, it could be a scam.
2. If you’re asked to pay quickly, it could be a scam.
3. If you’re asked to pay in an unusual way, such as vouchers or money transfer, or asked for your bank details, it could be a scam.
- You can read more about cost of living related scams here: Warning: Three cost of living scams to watch out for as fraudsters try to exploit the crisis (moneysavingexpert.com)
For more help and support, visit our new Cost of Living Hub.
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