Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Ofgem energy discount scam explained and how to avoid scammers

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The scammers are asking for bank details on the pretext of paying them the £150 government-issued tax refund

The scammers are asking for bank details on the pretext of paying them the £150 government-issued tax refund.

There are reports of scammers contacting people pretending to be energy regulator Ofgem and trying to access their banking details.

Ofgem has issued advice on how to avoid fraud.

Here’s what you need to know.

If someone claiming to be Ofgem asks for your bank details, it’s a red flag.

Ofgem says: “Ofgem would never ask for your bank details in relation to energy bills.”

The energy regulator has warned that scammers could try to contact people in the following ways:

Ofgem says: “These are energy scams. Ofgem would never sell you energy, ask you for personal information or come to your property.”

If you pay your council tax by direct debit and are eligible for a refund, you will receive it automatically.

If you choose not to pay by direct debit, you should be contacted by your local authority, not Ofgem.

If you think you have been scammed or that someone has tried to scam you, you should report it to Action Fraud, the fraud and cybercrime hotline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In Scotland call Police Scotland on 101.

If you have provided your personal information such as your bank details, contact your bank immediately for help.

The council tax refund will be paid to households whose home in England was in council tax brackets A to D as of April 1 – affecting around 20 million homes, including 95 per cent of rental properties.

This criterion has been mirrored in Scotland and the Welsh Government offers similar conditions for its own scheme.

If you live in England or Wales you can find out your council tax bracket by entering your postcode on the government website here.

You can also use this service to dispute your council tax spread if you think it is wrong.

Those living in Scotland must use the Scottish Assessors website.

If residents of a property in Groups AD are exempt from council tax on April 1, 2022, they are eligible for the reduction if the property falls in one of the following exemption classes:

Your council tax margin is based on the price at which the property would have been sold on the open market on 1 April 1991 in England and Scotland and 1 April 2003 in Wales.

In England bands A to D cover properties valued at up to £88,000, in Scotland the ceiling is £58,000 and for Wales the threshold is £123,000.

The introduction of the Council Tax Reduction started in April 2022 according to the timeframe announced by the government in February, so yours should be lucky enough to be paid soon.

If you’re eligible, you shouldn’t need to request payment as long as you pay your bill by direct debit.

It should instead be credited to your account automatically, with the rebate provided as a separate payment rather than as part of your council tax bill.

The government stated in its official guidance: “All tax refund grants from the Council should be paid out as soon as possible from April.”

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