Worryingly, Action Fraud has received 537 reports within 48 hours relating to fake emails purporting to be from British Gas. The emails claim the recipient is due a refund, as a result of overpayment.
As part of the scam alert, an example of the message has been released by Action Fraud.
It states: “Hello, British Gas wants to inform you that you are eligible for a payment refund of £594.
“Our records indicate that you have paid more than you should have for your British Gas Service from 2017-2019 and because of this reason, we have decided to refund you the total amount which you have overpaid.”
There is also a link within the emails, which the fraudsters will hope recipients of the email will click.
It won’t take them to the legitimate British Gas website though.
Instead, the link within the emails lead to phishing websites that are designed to steal personal and financial information, Action Fraud said.
The UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime issued the scam alert recently via its verified Twitter account.
Within the warning, Action Fraud said: “Your bank, or any other official organisation, won’t ask you to share personal information over email or text.
“It you need to check that it’s a genuine message, contact them directly.
“Spotted a suspicious email? Forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) – email@example.com.”
Beside the alert, a tweet from Action Fraud read: “Look out for these FAKE British Gas emails!
“There are no refunds…the links lead to phishing websites designed to steal your personal and financial information!
“If you spot a suspicious email, forward it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
There’s lots of information on scams and suspicious emails on the British Gas website.
“It’s not always easy to spot phishing emails,” the company states.
“These online scams appear to be from legitimate companies and link through to fake websites asking you to enter your personal information.
“They can often be very sophisticated and convincing, so it’s important to know what to look for.”
British Gas says if a person is in any doubt over any email which claims to be from them, they shouldn’t click any links, but instead attach it to a new email and send it to email@example.com, before deleting it.
There’s also lots of information on the website about which emails and websites shouldn’t be trusted – as well as how to spot whether the email is genuinely from British Gas.
The firm also warns there is a legitimate email being sent out to customers.
“We’re currently doing some research and you may receive an email from @kpmg-nunwood.co.uk asking about your experiences with us,” British Gas states.
“These emails are completely legitimate and no cause for concern.”