Action Fraud has issued a warning about a sharp rise in reports relating to fake emails claiming to be from Ofgem, the independent energy regulator for Great Britain.
The emails claim that the recipient is due a rebate payment as part of a government scheme and provides links for the recipient to follow in order to apply for the rebate. The links in the emails lead to malicious websites designed to steal personal and financial information.
Between Monday 22nd August 2022 and Monday 5th September 2022, a total of 1,567 phishing emails related to this scam were reported via the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS).
All the emails have the email subject header “Claim your bill rebate now”. Offenders are using the Ofgem brand logo and colours to make the emails look as authentic as possible. They ask recipients to “apply for an energy bill rebate before September 2020”, which is what prompted many recipients to realise the emails weren’t genuine.
The scam claims that the recipient is due an energy rebate payment as part of a government scheme and provides links for the recipient to follow to apply for the rebate. The links in the emails lead to malicious websites designed to steal personal and financial information.
Roger Mapleson, Licensing and Trading Standards Lead, said, “With the cost of living causing a lot of concern for many people it would be very easy to be tempted by this offer. Please remember genuine companies will never ask you to share personal information over email or text. Be wary of all emails that come out of the blue with offers of money – as on this occasion it could be very costly.”
How you can protect yourself and others
• If you have any doubts about a message, contact the organisation directly. Don’t use the numbers or address in the message – use the details from their official website. Remember, your bank (or any other official source) will never ask you to supply personal information via email.
• If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to email@example.com. Even if you’re not certain they’re a scam – it will be checked.
- Follow the Take Five advice
- STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
- CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
- PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
For advice on how to stay secure online, please visit cyberware.