Britons are currently experiencing a double whammy hit of rising inflation and energy bills which is putting pressure on households. As it stands, inflation currently sits at seven percent and energy bills are projected to increase by £693 for this year. Due to 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 potential scammers might impersonate real-life councils offering financial assistance to fool innocent people.
This comes in light of the Government’s recent council tax rebate scheme, which has seen households in tax bands A to D awarded £150 to address the cost of living crisis.
Furthermore, the Government has also announced £144million in additional discretionary funding for councils to help people who do not qualify for the rebate.
According to the bank, schemes such as the council tax rebate can be used to target vulnerable people for scams.
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Barclays explained: “If someone calls you pretending to be from the council and asks for your bank details so they can give you a refund, hang up.
“If they text or email 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 the rebates the Government is offering, where you can see if you’re eligible and find out how to claim them.”
Furthermore, the bank warned that fraudsters are attempting to use the recent hike in energy bills to promote fake deals to people they are looking to target.
The bank added: “The rising cost of energy is also leading to scammers contacting consumers about energy price offers and refunds.
“If someone gets in touch about an offer for a great energy price deal or a refund, don’t click on any links or give them any personal information over the phone.
“Genuine companies will understand if you want to look into the offer, or call back on a number you can find on their website.”
In light of the cost of living crisis, many families have resorted to using bargains and discount deals to lower their grocery shopping costs and expenses.
However, the bank warned that fake promotional deals could be another trap to lure unsuspecting victims.
Barclays said: “If you’re looking for retail offers and discounts, be wary of offers that seem too good to be true.
“Use reputable discount websites by typing the address in rather than using a search engine, or go directly to the retailer.”
Yesterday, the Bank of England raised the UK base rate to a 13-year high of one percent in a bid to tackle inflation.
With borrowing set to become even more expensive, various fake loan websites are also a possibility when it comes to modern cost of living scams, according to Barclays.
“Scammers could set up fake loan websites,” the bank explained.
“The interest rate may seem low, but they’ll say you need to pay an admin fee before they can release the money – this will be a scam.
“Always check a company offering loans is fully regulated by checking the FCA website. If you’re struggling financially, talk to your bank and see what support they can offer.
“Remember – if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.”