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Gmail and Outlook warning: Police issue alert about fake energy emails


Gmail and Outlook users have been told by police to stay clear of a scam email being spread that preys on concerns around the cost of living crisis. Callous con-artists are spreading an email that claims it is from energy regulator Ofgem, and allegedly offers details on how to claim a Government-backed rebate to help with your energy bills. However, this convincing hoax is all part of a scam to direct people to a malicious website which can steal personal and financial information.

This dangerous email was highlighted by Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.

On Twitter the Action Fraud account posted: “SCAM WARNING: We received over 750 reports in just four days about these FAKE @ofgem emails.

“The links in the emails lead to websites that are designed to steal your personal and financial details. If you receive one, report it to: Report@phishing.gov.uk”.

And now following on from this warning police are also alerting the public to this danger, saying they have seen a “sudden” amount of reports about the scam.

Speaking to Express.co.uk Detective Chief Inspector Craig Mullish, from the City of London Police, said: “There has been a sudden flurry of reports relating to fake emails purporting to be from Ofgem. These attempt to hook the public in by claiming that the recipient is eligible to apply for an energy bill rebate. The link will then take you through to a genuine-looking website that intends to steal your personal and financial information.

“As with many scams, we advise the public to follow the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign to keep themselves safe from fraud.”

DCI Mullish also outlined a few steps people should take whenever they receive an unsolicited email which will help them spotting a scam…

Stop – Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe

Challenge – Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you

Protect – If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040

Ofgem themselves have also said they’ve received reports of this new scam and have given advice on how the public can keep safe.

The energy regulator said: “Scammers may sometimes contact you pretending to be from Ofgem. For example, a scammer might call saying they are from Ofgem, suggest you switch and then ask for your bank details.

“They might try to contact you by: knocking at your door, phone call, social media, email, pop-up message on a website, instant message, text message.

“These are energy scams. Ofgem would never sell you energy, ask for personal information or come to your property.”

There are a few other red flags you need to keep an eye out for which can help you spot a scam.

One of the most obvious things is double-checking the email address of a sender, which should be tied to an official domain linked to the organisation in question.

If the email domain is a fake domain that tries to copy an official one but isn’t quite right, or is a Gmail, Hotmail or other such account alarm bells should be ringing.

Also, keep an eye out for any typos or grammatical mistakes in the message as official correspondence shouldn’t have these errors.

And finally be wary of any emails that try to impart some kind of urgent warning to you that is designed to make you concerned, as well as requests for personal and especially financially information.

If you still aren’t sure you can simply contact the organisation in question to double-check it’s an official message from them.

While this will take you a little bit of time it will save you much more in the amount of time and stress that could be caused trying to sort out any issues if you did fall victim to the scam.





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