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Personal finance experts Vouchers.co.uk have investigated the potential losses of five circulating cost of living scams, to reveal how much you could be at risk of losing. According to the website, Brits could be at risk of losing up to £2,849 or worse – their bank account contents and savings.
Mitchell Baxter, a money-saving expert at Vouchers.co.uk said: “With the cost of living crisis putting millions of Brits out of pocket, more are likely to fall for circulating scams that are aiming to exploit the vulnerable.
“The best advice we can give is if the offer seems too good to be true, it usually is. To check an offer’s authenticity, close down the application whether it be a call or a text and access the relevant account on a different device. If your offer is valid, the customer service team at the relevant company will be able to verify this or confirm if it’s a scam.”
Fake cost of living payment texts that empty your bank account
Given cost of living payments are due to be applied to energy bill accounts, criminals are sending texts, claiming to be from Ofgem and requesting people to apply for their £400 rebate. Victims would do so by clicking on a link, entering their bank details and potentially losing the contents of their bank balance, Gloucestershire Live reports.
The real rebate is being paid directly to energy suppliers by central government, and can only be accessed as a reduction to your energy bills over a six month period.
Mobile phone provider discount scam could cost you £1,049
According to O2’s customer service forum – many customers received phone calls from scammers offering a 40% discount.
Cost of living: Energy boss on ‘mechanism’ to help consumers
One unlucky customer from Ireland answered the call, in which the criminal was offering the discount and needed to verify her identity to apply the discount to her account. He claimed O2 would send a security code which she would need to repeat. Little did the victim know that this code would be from the real O2 and would be the security code the scammer needed to access her account.
Luckily, the woman told The Impartial Reporter, that O2 managed to lock the scammer out of the account before they helped themselves to a new iPhone – if not, she would have lost out on £1,049.
Facebook Marketplace scammers charging drivers up to £1,500
Those looking to cut vehicle costs could be opting for purchasing a bargain motor on social media. However, Vouchers.co.uk warns drivers to be vigilant – as car scammers offering vehicles at too-good-to-be-true prices would then go on to pressure motorists to send deposit money to ‘hold the car’ before you buy.
In some cases, the car will either not exist or not be legitimately for sale. After you’ve paid the holding fee, which could be up to £1,500, the ad would disappear resulting in a loss of money.
Royal Mail scams that could cost you £300
Some criminals are posing as delivery companies and requesting additional payment for delivery. If expecting a delivery, it seems quite likely for Brits to fall for a seemingly innocent text message from Amazon or Royal Mail. One victim told The Guardian that she was expecting an import charge, clicked on the link in the text from the delivery company and completed the form. Next, £300 was taken from her bank account and the victim spotted that the criminals had rapidly used the money to purchase themselves an electric scooter.
Food voucher scams gain access to personal information
Circulating email vouchers from supermarket chains claim to be offering shoppers £45 off their next grocery shop. The email contains a link, directing to an official looking phishing website designed to steal log in credentials and purchase information.
Criminals could then go on to make a purchase on a victim’s behalf using their private information.
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