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Fortnightly Fraud Focus - Criminals set to exploit surge in cost of living

18 February 2022

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is highlighting the latest fraud threats, and warning the public to stay vigilant of the ever-changing tactics that scammers are using to extract money and information.

Criminals are currently exploiting the recent announcement made by Ofgem, that the energy price cap will increase from Friday 1 April 2022 for approximately 22 million customers. To help households cope with this increase in their bills, the Government has also announced a £200 rebate against energy bills in October 2022.

Ahead of these changes, Citizens Advice in Oxfordshire has reported a 36% increase in people looking for support connected to ‘fuel debt’. These changes and the public’s concern towards the rising cost of living has alerted criminals, who have diverted their attention to trick consumers out of their personal and financial details.

As a demonstration of this, the consumer group Which? has reported instances of criminals impersonating energy companies. In one attempt, criminals ran an email phishing campaign impersonating Eon by promising an £85 refund. Which? has also warned of another phishing email claiming to come from British Gas, offering an even greater refund of £400.

Commenting on the threat, Cifas’ Head of Fraud Intelligence, Amber Burridge, said: ‘Criminals have been quick to take advantage of recent changes in the energy sector.

‘By creating fake messages claiming to be from energy suppliers offering refunds to those who click on a link, fraudsters are attempting to steal personal and financial details. Once in possession of such details, criminals may be able to commit various types of fraud against victims, such as by impersonating them to commit identity fraud or using stolen details to access online accounts.

‘It’s important that whenever you receive a message asking you to click on links or provide personal details, to stop and think about the consequences of doing so. It’s also important to forward scam emails to report@phishing.gov.uk so the accounts sending these messages can be investigated.’

Further information

For further information, please contact:

Matt Pearson, Press & PR Manager
matthew.pearson@cifas.org.uk
+44 (0)20 4551 7956

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Posted by: Cifas Press Team
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Posted by: Cifas Press Team

Contact us at press@cifas.org.uk

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