RESIDENTS are being urged to remain vigilant over fake text messages offering a £400 discount on energy bills.
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Trading Standards team issued a scam warning after reports of residents receiving texts claiming to be from the Government (GOV.UK).
The messages instruct people to apply for a £400 ‘non-repayable discount’ under the Energy Bills Support Scheme, before directs them to a fake website which harvests bank details and other valuable personal data.
Residents are reminded the official £400 discount will be paid automatically and does not need to be applied for.
The council’s deputy leader, Cllr Karen Shore, said: “Please watch out for fake text messages claiming to be from the government, inviting you to apply for the £400 energy discount.
“It’s a scam – the £400 will be paid automatically. You do not need to apply.
“This scam has been widely reported, the messages invite people to apply for the £400 ‘non-repayable discount’ and instruct the recipient to follow a link to a fake website to provide personal details.
“It then encourages people to set up a direct debit to receive the money.”
Trading Standards directs anyone who has already provided bank details and other personal information through the fake website to end all communication with the scammers immediately.
They should then call their bank straight away and cancel any recurring payments, then report to incident to Cheshire Police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
The £400 energy discount scheme introduced by the Government will see households in England with a domestic electricity account get a non-repayable grant of £400 between October 2022 and March 2023.
It will be paid in six instalments, with the first two instalments of £66 paid in October and November, followed by four payments of £67 from December to March.
How you’ll receive the discount depends on how you pay for your energy. You’ll get the discount monthly, even if you pay for your energy quarterly or use a payment card.
More information about how the discount will be paid to households for all payment methods, including prepayment meters and payment cards is able on the GOV.UK website.