Britons are currently suffering a double whammy from rising inflation and rising energy bills, putting pressure on households. As it stands, inflation is currently at 7% and energy bills are expected to rise by £693 for this year. Because of this, the UK is experiencing a cost of living crisis which the bank believes fraudsters are taking advantage of.
On its website, Barclays is sounding the alarm that would-be scammers could pose as real tips offering financial assistance to cheat innocent people.
This comes in light of the Government’s recent council tax rebate scheme, which saw households in tax brackets A-D receive £150 to help with the cost of living crisis.
In addition, the government has also announced £144million of additional discretionary funding for the councils to help people who are not eligible for the rebate.
According to the bank, programs such as Council Tax Rebate can be used to target vulnerable people for scams.
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Barclays explained: “If someone calls you claiming to be from advice and asks for your bank details so they can reimburse you, hang up.
“If they’re texting or emailing you, don’t click on any links. Councils will never call or email asking for your bank details.
“The gov.uk website has more information about government rebates, where you can see if you are eligible and how to claim them.”
Additionally, the bank warned that scammers are trying to use the recent rise in energy bills to promote fake offers to the people they seek to target.
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The bank added: “The rising cost of energy is also leading scammers to contact consumers about energy price offers and refunds.
“If someone comes in contact with an offer for a good energy price or a refund, don’t click on any links or give them any personal information over the phone.
“Genuine businesses will understand if you want to review the offer or call back a number you can find on their website.”
In light of the cost of living crisis, many families have resorted to deals and discounts to reduce their grocery costs and expenses.
However, the bank warned that fake promotional offers could be another trap to lure unsuspecting victims.
Barclays said: “If you’re looking for retail deals and discounts, beware of deals that sound too good to be true.
“Use reputable discount websites by typing in the address rather than using a search engine, or go directly to the retailer.”
The Bank of England yesterday raised the UK base rate to 1%, its highest level in 13 years, in a bid to fight inflation.
With loans set to get even more expensive, various fake loan websites are also a possibility when it comes to modern day cost of living scams, according to Barclays.
“Scammers could create fake lending websites,” the bank explained.
“The interest rate may seem low, but they will tell you that you have to pay an administration fee before you can release the money – it will be a scam.
“Always check that a company offering loans is fully regulated by checking the FCA website. If you are having financial difficulty, talk to your bank and see what support they can offer you.
“Remember – if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”