Be aware of scams relating to energy bills support, residents warned
Shropshire Council and their partners are warning people to be wary of scams relating to the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding, as the applications process is due to launch at the end of the month.
The scheme is set to provide £400 of support to households who were unable to receive the main Energy Bills Support Scheme, which most households are currently receiving as a discount on their energy bills from October 2022 until April 2023.
Eligible households include park home and care home residents, some social and private tenants, and others without a direct relationship to an electricity provider.
Applications will need to be made through a GOV.UK online application portal, or by phone for those without Internet access; and there are concerns that the process will be taken as an opportunity by scammers hoping to target vulnerable households.
Aleksandra Zydek from Citizens Advice Shropshire said:-
“With the cost of living crisis continuing, it’s important to remain alert and protect yourself from these and other scams. Scams move very fast, they can and do affect anyone – no matter how savvy you think you might be.
“The impacts of scams are huge; some people lose their life savings. But victims can also suffer emotional trauma, become depressed, lose the confidence to live independently, and can suffer long-term health problems as a result.
“Stigma is something we’ve been working to tackle for a number of years, but it remains one of the biggest barriers to stopping these crimes. Tell family, friends and neighbours, so that they can avoid scams and find out how to protect themselves. If you think someone might be trying to scam you, get advice.”
Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for finance and corporate resources, said:-
“We know that many residents in Shropshire are eligible for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding and will be eager to make their applications. Unfortunately, this creates a chance for criminals to take advantage.
“You will not receive any requests for personal information before you make your initial application through the GOV.UK portal. Remember to seek advice from somebody you trust if you are not sure about any communication that you receive, and do report anything that you suspect as a scam.”
If you have received a scam message in relation to the EBSS Alternative Funding, please report it. It is very important that this is reported promptly. Please send a screen shot of the message to email@example.com so that action can be taken. Forward text messages to 7726, and report websites via the National Cyber Security Centre at https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/about-this-website/report-scam-website.