As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, there has seen a significant increase in scammers impersonating energy firms to trick victims into handing over money or payment details.
January 2022 saw a 27% increase in such reports, when compared with the previous January.
Fraudsters posed as major supplier Eon to claim that the recipient was entitled to an £85 refund. ‘Our system indicates that an error in our billing procedures has led to an overcharge,’ the email announced, before urging you to click on a link and enter your banking details to get your money.
The email rightly raised flags with recipients as many weren’t even supplied by Eon. Scammers sent out the email to many recipients in the knowledge that at least some inboxes would belong to Eon customers.
Your energy supplier already has your payment details and so will never send an unsolicited email or text requesting these.
Scammers can sometimes ‘spoof’ organisations using an email display name of their choice (e.g. ‘Eon Winter Payment’ or even ‘eonhelp.com’), so make sure you always read the full underlying email address of the sender, instead of just glancing at the display name.
Don’t be afraid to call your energy supplier, using the number on its website or your bill, to check what you’ve been told.
The collapse of many smaller energy companies in recent years has created billing confusion that scammers have swiftly capitalised on.
Emails addressed each customer by name and demonstrated knowledge of their former supplier.
If your energy supplier ceases trading, it will be swiftly taken over by an Ofgem-appointed successor firm, which manages your account and acts as a point of contact for verifying any payment requests you then receive.
Green home improvement grants
Over the years, a variety of government energy-efficiency initiatives have come and gone – most recently the Green Homes Grant from 2020 to 2021. Fraudsters love to impersonate legitimate schemes via cold calls, doorstepping and online adverts.
Never sign up to anything on the strength of an unsolicited doorstep encounter or cold call; instead search to find reputable tradespeople near you.
If you need any further advice on this, or any other aspect of security, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 02074 999 323.