UK consumers worried about the cost of heating their homes this winter are being targeted by scammers looking to trick them out of valuable funds.
Researchers at Kaspersky found over 30 websites spoofing the UK Government’s Energy Support scheme, where people can claim a £400 voucher towards their energy bills.
Often looking identical to the official Government pages, these sites convince victims to share personal information and payment details, all of which can be sold on to the dark web or used for further attacks.
Alongside the malicious websites, criminals have also constructed wider-ranging scams to target a larger number of users.
Kaspersky notes that anyone using traditional pre-paid meters is set to receive a voucher via an SMS text or by email or by post, after following a set of instructions.
The scammers are aware of this scheme, and have also constructed SMS messages or emails claiming to be official communications from either the government or energy companies. These emails contain a malicious link that, when clicked, redirects victims to one of a number of fake sites, where their personal information will again be targeted.
“Text messages and emails with information about such monetary incentives call for caution, as scammers will seek to take advantage of the situation to impersonate legitimate correspondence and entice the receiver to click on a malicious link or enter bank details, purportedly in order to receive the discount," said David Emm, principal security researcher, Global Research and Analysis Team, Kaspersky.
“We urge consumers to proactively reach out to their energy supplier to verify the legitimacy of the communication they might receive, however credible, and not to trust any prompts other than when they have logged into their trusted account, via two-factor authentication”.
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Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.