Watch out for scams

Energy bill support scam texts and emails

Residents are being warned of scam messages being sent out inviting them to apply for the Government’s £400 energy bill support. This payment is being made automatically so you do not need to apply.

Cases have been reported across the country of people receiving text messages claiming to be from the Government saying they were eligible to apply for a discounted energy bill as part of the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

However, under the Government’s scheme there is no need to apply for the discount as it will be applied automatically to your household electricity bill for the next six months from 1 October.


Scammers pretending to be from the Council

Council tax scams

Parking scams

Scams on social media

Be wary of anything relating to coronavirus support by text message or social media that doesn’t come from an official source, such as the Council, UK Government, Citizen’s Advice or the NHS.

You can help protect yourself on social media by:

  • checking anything that appears suspicious. For example, does the website link match the official website of the organisation that the claim appears to be from? If not, do not click on the link
  • if in doubt, you can contact the official organisation that the offer claims to be from via social media, email or phone number, to check its authenticity
    • please note that official accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tend to have a ‘blue tick’ next to their account name to show that they’re verified
  • check a phone number with a second source such as the organisation’s website
  • even if the post comes from someone you trust, their account may have been compromised or spoofed. Send them a message to ask if they posted the offer. Be careful though, they may not realise that it is a scam themselves. It’s always best to check if something doesn’t look right
  • for official information about support available during the pandemic, always search the Government’s website to ensure that this support offer is genuine

If you’ve been a victim of a social media scam, visit Citizen’s Advice for help.

How to protect yourself and vulnerable family members

The most important thing to remember is if you are contacted by someone you don’t know, either in person, by phone or online, be cautious. If something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t. If you can’t be sure, check with someone you trust, or contact the police on 999 in emergencies and 101 in all other instances.

Signs to look out for

  • if you are being asked for money and put under pressure to act immediately
  • you are asked to provide your bank account details
  • you are asked to make a purchase to win a prize
  • you need to contact a premium rate number
  • you receive an unsolicited call
  • the business contacting you is reluctant to give their address or contact details

Be wary of unexpected visitors to your home

If someone claiming to be from an organisation knocks on your door unexpectedly, don’t let them in.

Ask the person to wait outside and contact the organisation they claim to be from. If this is not possible, contact someone you trust. If the visitor is genuine, they’ll understand. If they turn out not to be genuine, contact the police and alert friends and family.

Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, emails and texts

Be careful of anything you weren’t expecting that claims to be from an organisation such as a bank, HMRC, Ofcom, BT, PayPal, Microsoft and other large, trusted organisations.

At the moment, particularly watch out for unsolicited emails claiming to come from health bodies such as the NHS and the WHO.

You can report phishing emails on

Don’t pay others to fill out forms for you

Be wary of paying anyone to help you to fill out application forms. All council applications are free to complete . If you need a translator to help you to complete a form we can provide this service. You do not need to pay anyone to do this for you.

Don’t be pressured into acting quickly

Automated scam phone calls and emails are often designed by criminals to scare you into acting quickly and parting with cash and banking information. If you feel pressured into doing something quickly, don’t do it.

Look out for poor grammar and spelling

Scam emails, texts and letters are often clumsily written with typos and spelling mistakes. For example, no spaces after commas and missing full stops.

Check the email address

Spam emails are often sent from email addresses that include additional unnecessary letters and numbers, so it’s best practice to check the email address as well as the text in the email.

You can report phishing emails on

Does the correspondence address you by name?

Legitimate emails from services you have accounts with will always address you by your name. Scam emails and texts usually start with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Customer’.

For more information on how to check if something is a scam, visit Citizens Advice where you will find further guidance.

You can report phishing emails on

Page updated on: 25 May 2023