With recent rises in energy bills and the cost of everyday goods, more of us than ever are on the look out for savvy ways to save money and cut spending. Thousands of people are finding themselves in more vulnerable positions and unfortunately, this has created a new host of opportunities for criminals to exploit.
According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) there were more than 1500 reports of scam emails claiming to be from Ofgem in the final two weeks of August alone. The emails encouraged recipients to claim a 'bill rebate' and provided links to malicious websites designed to steal information.
The email had an obvious error, asking would-be claimants to submit their forms before the end of September 2020, which alerted some to its validity. Mistakes such as this are often a giveaway of spam messages and are one of the things you should look out for when determining whether a communication is genuine. Here are some other tips to help you keep your finances safe and secure throughout the cost of living crisis:
- If you have any doubts, no matter how small they seem, contact the organisation directly by email or telephone to find out if the communication is genuine. Make sure you do this by finding the company’s information from their official website, not from the communication you are suspicious of.
- Never click on links in text messages or emails if you are unsure. Always check to see if what you have received is genuine first.
- Look for obvious spelling or grammatical errors, as well as incorrect personal information and if it is an email, an unusual or different ‘from’ email address. These are often typical of spam or phishing emails.
- Sign up to alerts from Action Fraud or Which?, who send out information about scams to watch out for across the UK.
- Check out Take 5’s advice on preventing fraud – stop, challenge, and protect.
If you are concerned about any communications you have received from us and you want to check if they are genuine, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us via email or telephone, or pop into one of our ten local branches. You can also visit our fraud and cyber security hub, which has contains information to help you keep your money safe.
If you’d like to report an instance of cyber-crime or fraud, please contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.