« back to news

NFIB warns of utility bill fraud

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is warning people to beware of cold-callers from overseas who are offering discounted energy bills to UK consumers. Callers state they are from a company that offers large discounts on utility bills, council tax, road tax and insurance, and use the name of a reputable energy comparison website, thus adding validation to their scam.

Suspects call from Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) numbers to offer 20% discount on a wide range of bills and early indications seem to show that these calls are coming from India. Victims agree for the caller to pay their tax or bill to guarantee a discount. The victim is then required to pay their bill upfront by transferring money to the suspect’s bank account which is supplied over the phone by the caller. Once the suspect receives the victims’ money, the suspect pays the energy company bill, or road tax etc and waits for the funds to clear. The victim therefore becomes satisfied that the bill or tax has been paid.

A few days later the suspect declares to the utility company that the payment has been made on a compromised card and gets rejected at source. The victim is unaware that the bill remains unpaid, until the energy company, council, DVLA or insurer contact the victim stipulating there are unresolved bills in addition to late payment fees accruing.

With energy prices causing a lot of worry for people, the NFIB is warning people to be extra vigilant of scams offering to save people money on household bills. The following advice will help keep you safe when making payments to anyone over the phone:

  • Request the contact details of the called – eg: the telephone number and address of the company they are calling from and then check these on the internet for reviews
  • Never provide your bank details to the initial caller, always call the person back to ensure the telephone number and company are genuine
  • Be cautious when dealing with sellers from abroad or private individuals on the phone, especially if they request payment by e-money such as UKash vouchers
  • Businesses are advised to check their authentication process with telecommunication providers to ensure they are not vulnerable, and place consumer alerts on their websites advising the public to be vigilant of phone calls.

It pays to know who you are buying from. When it comes to insurance, Westhill Insurance Services has an excellent reputation for providing honest and pragmatic advice – and as an independent broker, we can shop around to find the best deals too. If you have any worries about your insurance, or perhaps have been made an offer you think is too good to be true, make one quick call to our friendly team and check it out. Our advice and guidance are free and we can help you make sure that your insurance is in order and doing the job it should – keeping you, your belongings and your family safe!

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted By Ryan Jennings on 1st February, 2014