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I’ve got an energy rebate email from Ofgem. Is it a scam?

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Energy scam: don't be fooled by 'Ofgem' emails

Fraudsters love nothing more than a crisis. It’s just another opportunity to trick people into handing over money. With the UK currently preparing to offer energy rebates to consumers, many people are receiving emails from ‘Ofgem’, telling them to apply for their rebate. Should you respond to the email?

The one-word answer is no.

How are energy rebates being offered in the UK?

You don’t need to apply for your autumn/winter 2022 energy rebates in the UK. The payments are being made in the form of discounts from your energy supplier and will be applied automatically. You don’t have to do anything.

According to the information provided by The Energy Savings Trust, you will receive a £66 discount on your bills in October and November 2022, rising to £67 per month from December through to March 2023. That’s a total of £400 in rebates. It seems highly likely the government will offer further support in the winter too.

The energy rebates are not being administered by Ofgem, so any email purporting to come from the energy regulator asking you to apply for a rebate is fake. Don’t reply to the email or click any of the links in the email.

How do you tell if an email is fake?

The easiest way to check if an email is fake is to examine the sender’s email address.

In the example above, although the sender may appear as ‘Ofgem’, when you look at the sender’s email address it will likely be something completely random.

Below, for example, is an email purporting to come from the security company McAfee. But when you check the sender’s email address, you’ll see it doesn’t originate from a McAfee.com address.

Today’s email packages often hide the sender’s address, so you may have to do a little digging to reveal it. In Gmail, for example, you have to click the little arrow to the right of “to me” at the top of the email to get the full sender information, as shown above. Other email apps may have different ways of accessing the original sender’s address.

Don’t rely completely on the sender’s email address, though. It is possible to spoof sender email addresses or use a domain that is very similar to the genuine company’s (offgem.com instead of ofgem.gov.uk, for example).

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About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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