The £400 Energy Bills discount
What to know and how to look out for scams
Households across Great Britain will receive a £400 non-repayable discount off their electricity bills, via the government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme. The discount will be paid in six monthly instalments starting in October.
There is no need to apply for the scheme. You will not be contacted by the Government or Ofgem asking you to share your bank details in order to benefit. Your electricity supplier will apply the £400 discount automatically if you pay your electricity bills by direct debit, standard credit, payment card or smart prepayment meter. You do not need to do anything.
If you are on a traditional prepayment meter, it is important to ensure your electricity supplier has your contact details so you can receive the discount via vouchers issued from the first week of every month from October to March. Vouchers will be issued by your electricity supplier via SMS text, email or post along with information on where to redeem them. This will usually be a PayPoint or Post Office branch.
Do not give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments, or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.
For more information on the Energy Bills Support Scheme, see the Explainer on gov.uk
Energy bills related scams to look out for:
- Scam Energy Rebate Emails and Text Messages – Some emails and text messages may be bogus and sent by fraudsters, encouraging you to click on a link to apply for your rebates. These links will direct you to websites where your personal and financial information may be stolen. Never click on any links if you’re not sure they’re genuine.
- Bogus ‘Energy Saving Boxes’ – With energy costs rising, fraudsters are targeting consumers, selling them ‘energy saving boxes’ and ‘eco-plugs’ that falsely claim to be able to save residents up to 40% on their energy bills. The boxes are being sold online and do not appear to provide any tangible energy savings!
Maintenance Cold Callers
Warwickshire Trading Standards has received complaints from Housing Association tenants that a business has been cold calling them, asking to carry our repairs. It can be hard to tell a good trader from a bad one over the phone (or at the doorstep). Never agree to work being carried out on your home by unexpected cold callers. If you need work doing to your home, do your research, ask friends and family for genuine recommendations, and look for local traders with reputations to maintain. Doorstep sellers.
Scam ‘Safe Accounts’
Residents are warned to beware of more bogus bank fraud team phone calls. This is how the scam works. Fraudsters make a transaction request to the victim’s bank account and follow it up with a phone call. The caller falsely claims they are phoning from the bank’s fraud team and state they will block the online transaction and any others they spot. They may even give the victim fraud advice. They then phone back at a later date stating more problems have arisen with the victim’s bank account and they need to transfer the customer’s money in to a new ‘safe’ account. In reality this account is controlled by the fraudsters and any money sent to it will be stolen. Some people have been convinced to transfer their entire live savings to fraudsters in this way.
If you receive a phone call from anyone claiming to be from your bank, put the phone down. Banks are very unlikely to phone you unexpectedly, but if you do believe the call is genuine, phone your bank back on a publicly listed telephone number. Make sure the fraudsters have phoned off before you make the call (leave it a few minutes or use a different phone line). Never reveal any personal or financial information to cold callers, whoever they may claim to be!
Business Employees Targeted in Financial Scam
Businesses are warned that fraudsters are phoning and emailing them, falsely claiming to be existing employees and asking for their bank account details (into which their salaries are paid) is changed! Should this happen fraudsters will be able to direct salaries into their own accounts. Smaller businesses are more likely targets.
Rogue Gardeners and Roofers Target Stratford upon Avon
Rogue traders have been knocking on the doors of Stratford upon Avon residents. Rogue roofers will claim that a resident’s roof tiles appear loose and need replacing. Some residents have reported being charged over £700 for work that was unnecessary and, in some cases, not even carried out. Rogue gardeners are offering to ‘tidy up’ resident’s gardens before claiming that trees are diseased and need removing, and then going on to charge thousands for the work, when in reality it does not need doing. You can’t tell a good trader from a bad one on the doorstep. Do not buy goods or services from cold callers. Doorstep sellers.