The rising cost of living in the UK is causing anxiety and even street protests and is leaving Brits searching for ways to save money on their monthly bills. And wherever there are disruptions and confusion, scammers won’t be far behind.
In September, Hiya’s data showed a surge in energy-related scams. This was right before a new government program was to begin on Oct. 1 that provided relief from rising energy prices. There are other energy-related scams and spam campaigns going around the UK. Here are a few of them.
£400 energy bill credit scam
The energy bill scam relates to the Energy Bills Support Scheme, in which the UK government is crediting utility customers £66 per month from October 2022 through March 2023, totaling £400, to offset rising energy costs. Scammers have been calling consumers to have them “apply” for credit in order to steal their bank account information. The UK government reminds Brits that the energy credit will be applied automatically and that there is no need to apply. Here are some comments from users who have reported scams to Hiya:
“This number claims to be from the government regarding the £400 energy payment scheme, however, they ask for bank card details.”
“Pretending to be GOV.UK offering lower energy prices for "eligible" people. We all know that's a lie.”
“Asked me to enter my bank details to get my energy bill rebate, which I thought was genuine, and completed the form.”
Energy-saving products scams
As energy prices rise, people look for new ways to cut costs. Products are popping up everywhere claiming to save consumers big money. Some are scams, while others are simply nuisance calls trying to take advantage of people’s concerns about rising energy costs. Here’s a sampling of user reports:
“Said they were from an energy company and talked about loft insulation, but avoided giving a name when pushed.”
“Green Energy Ltd. offering grants for solar panels.”
“Can I reduce my energy bills by 87%?!? Refused to remove my number from their system, stating they would call me back once I'd had time to think about it!!!”
Energy company scams
Many users have reported getting calls from energy companies promising to save them money on their energy bills. Keep in mind that phone numbers can be spoofed, so an incoming call may appear to be from a local energy supplier while in reality, it could be coming from a different country. Here are reports of calls from various energy suppliers:
“Claimed to be 121 Energy.”
“Claims if in debt with an energy supplier, his company can help.”
“Repeatedly offers discounted energy bills targeting vulnerable people.”
How to stop phone scammers
Carriers can add Hiya Protect, a complete call protection solution that enables carriers to protect their subscribers by blocking and labeling spam calls, and helping them identify wanted calls. Hiya Protect personalizes call protection to individual subscribers so they receive the calls that are important to them and are protected from targeted attacks.
With Hiya Connect, enterprises can improve customer engagement and loyalty while protecting their customers from deceitful interactions and their brand reputation from inaccurate spam labeling. Get a free Reputation Analysis report to see if your customers are at risk.
Individuals can check with their phone carrier to see if it offers network-level spam protection and, if not, download the Hiya mobile app.