Energy bill rebate scams spread via SMS and email

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

Energy bill rebate scams spread via SMS and email

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned that fraudsters are sending out emails and SMS texts urging homeowners to sign up for a discount on their energy bills.

Amid a cost-of-living crisis, the British government announced that eligible UK households will receive a grant which will reduce energy bills by £400, starting in October 2022.

Predictably, scammers are taking advantage of the situation in order to dupe the unwary.

Reader Nicola shared with me a screenshot of an SMS she received, claiming to link to a site where recipients could sign up for their rebate.

Of course, the message does not really come from the UK government, and the actual intention of the message is to phish personal information via a fake Ofgem website.

The truth is that your utility provider will give you your rebate automatically if you are eligible – you don’t need to sign up.

Sign up to our newsletter
Security news, advice, and tips.

BBC News reports that it has seen other domains being used in similar scam messages, including:

  • energy-bill-online.com
  • myenergybillonline.com
  • rebate-ogem.com
  • totalsolutions24-7.co.uk

Emails have also been seen which attempt to pull a similar scam.

Beware.

The NCSC has called on recipients of SMS scam messages to forward them to 7726, and forward phishing emails to report@phishing.gov.uk

Found this article interesting? Follow Graham Cluley on Twitter to read more of the exclusive content we post.


Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

14 comments on “Energy bill rebate scams spread via SMS and email”

  1. Julieta-M. Rotar

    Today is the second day that I received text messages each time from a different mobile number, as if I was eligible for an energy discount. I didn't click on the link on my phone, but I wrote the link on my laptop to see where it takes me, but only one sentence opened, like something was installed (I hope not a virus). I also reported the message to 7726, and via email to phishing.gov . I wish you good health and thanks for helping people like us.

  2. Mrs V Taylor

    I had a text message at 4 02 this morning that read the same luckily I didn’t go into it. Lots of older people will though. Shame on these people who do this. It’s so upsetting for us older generation who do actually need the £400 to keep warm. Sad old world these days.

  3. Victoria Brennan

    It's just happened to me this morning. Because Martin Lewis reported on this, I did not give my bank details or card details.

  4. Miss S De Sadeleer

    Received text message from +447542358241 which will be reported

  5. Lewis burns

    I have stupidly given my details , what can I do ?

    1. Graham Cluley · in reply to Lewis burns

      I'm sorry to hear that.

      If you handed over your financial details, contact your bank and let them know.

      If you entered your password, change your password to something else (make sure it's strong, hard-to-crack and you're not using it anywhere else on the internet).

      If you were asked to install software, or later receive a suspicious email with an attachment or link to a download, run an up-to-date anti-virus program on your computer.

    2. Tina hall · in reply to Lewis burns

      I stupidy replied to this message and give my bank deposit but,rang bank and thay have cancelled my card will not be silly enough to click on theses messages again

  6. Irwin neil

    What do I do if I put my details into the message stupidly only awake and not thinking ?

    1. Graham Cluley · in reply to Irwin neil

      See my answer above to Lewis.

      One thing to add, if you gave the website your email address be on your guard against further scam emails you might receive.

      They fraudsters may think they have a "hot lead" and target you in further attempts to extract even more information (and ultimately money) from you.

      More tips here from the NCSC: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/phishing-scams/what-to-do

      1. Debbie Mercer · in reply to Graham Cluley

        I also received this phishing text message, I typed in name address dob and my email address but when I went on the page to give my bank details I didn't go any further because I'm on a pre payment meter, so I was puzzled for a bit, then I went on Google and saw all the same fake text messages people were getting for the fuel payments, so I haven't given my bank details but is my name address dob and email address in their system now⁉️ thanks Debbie.

  7. David Roberts

    Had this message from +44 7542 335343
    Reported

  8. Carlos

    Hi, I receive a sms message yesterday abaout the energy rebate ask for me to claim, I click the link and ask me for my address, phone number, date of birth, name and city them I press continue and ask me witch energy supplier I am on and next ask me for card details witch I believe was my bank details was when I realize this is a scam.I am worried can I be at risk I didnt give my card details I stop then but they still have some details of my shoud I be worried.

    1. Debbie · in reply to Carlos

      That's exactly what I did, I give my name address dob and email address and which fuel supplier I'm with, I gladly went onto Google before I give my bank details, but I'm like you, do I have to change my email address which means I have to go onto every online account I have to change my email address, IV gone into my online banking and gone into card management which means nobody can take money from my bank if not authorised, plus I think PayPal is brilliant, I got scammed once and they took £300 from my account via PayPal,which I didn't make the purchase, my bank was useless the amount was pending out of my account and the bank couldn't do anything, but PayPal had it sorted in 8 days, so try and just use PayPal when buying online 👍🏻

  9. Suzanne Wainwright

    It's a scam. The Government do NOT send text from a mobile like this. If you are eligible you will get help. There is no need to sign up with anything. I reported this to Ofgem and report@phishing.gov.uk.
    Good luck everyone and stay safe!

What do you think? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.