Worried woman with a mobile phone

Warning over cost-of-living scams

Fraudsters are trying to dupe us with cost-of-living scams

There’s a warning that rising prices have opened the door to a raft of new cost-of-living scams.

The crooks are taking advantage of people struggling with rising costs. The bad news is they’re getting more believable and harder to spot.

Recent frauds include scammers posing as energy suppliers or the government. When they call us, the name of a government agency or energy firm can appear on our screen. But it’s fake.

If we’re even a little bit unsure, we should hang up and call the number on the official  website.

Because there are now various cost-of-living support packages it’s no surprise some of us have struggled to keep up with what’s out there.

Scammers have been using this to their advantage by offering fake discounts or refunds on energy bills.

All households have been getting the £400 energy bills support. We don’t have to do anything to qualify for this. So if someone contacts us out of the blue about this then we should NOT click any links, fill out any forms or give out any personal details.

If someone says we owe money and threatens legal action or even prison, again we should never click any link or give out any information.

Other cost-of-living scams

Fraudsters can also pose as one of our friends or a family member. They then get in touch by text, WhatsApp, email or social media.

Often, they’ve got into our friend or relative’s account to make it look like a genuine message.

Then they ask us to help them out with money or send over our bank details. Some have said they want to help us to claim for an energy discount.

Again, if we’re in doubt we should call our friend or relative. It’s a good idea to use a different method of contacting them.

Fake loans and discounts

As living costs soar, more of us are turning to loans to get by. Fraudsters are one step ahead with fake websites offering low interest rates.

They then make us pay an admin fee before they release the money – it’s another of the cost-of-living scams.

Official loan companies are registered on the Financial Services Register.

Similarly, for discount websites it’s better to stick to names we know and trust. It’s better to type in their web address rather than using the names that come up on Google.

If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is. And if we’re pressured to buy a gadget that will cut our energy bill or improve our home then this too could be a scam.

It may just be a waste of money, but some shoddy products may actually be dangerous.

Photo: Alex Green / Pexels

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