Barclays issues scam warning as fraudsters ‘take advantage’ of cost of living crisis

Nurse scammed out of her £45 thousand pension

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The bank is alerting savers that scammers are using the rise to the UK’s inflation rate and energy bills to commit crimes. In the UK, millions of families are being hurt financially by the staggering rise in the cost of living. While this has been detrimental to everyday families, fraudsters are using it to benefit themselves.

Currently, the UK’s inflation rate is a 40-year high of 9.4 percent and is expected to reach 12 percent in the coming months.

In comparison, households are dealing with a £693 hike to their energy bills at the moment which is exacerbating the cost of living.

Furthemore, the average household energy bill is expected to reach as high as £3,500 by October of this year.

Due to the current economic downturn, savers are being encouraged to safeguard their finances from potential harm.

READ MORE: State pensioners may be able to increase sum by up to £14.75 weekly

In light of the rise in the cost of living and subsequent scams, Barlacys has shared advice to those who are at risk of being frauded.

On its website, the bank stated: “Fraudsters will try to take advantage of the cost of living crisis and might get in contact about a range of issues affecting us all.

“They might pretend to represent local councils offering financial support, energy companies, or retailers offering too-good-to-be-true discounts, or direct you to fake loan websites or offers.

“The Government has recently announced a range of measures to help families with the rising cost of living.

“If someone calls you pretending to be from the council and asks for your bank details so they can give you a refund, hang up. If they text or email you, don’t click on any links. Councils will never call or email asking for your bank details.”

​​Anyone interested to see what cost of living support payments they are eligible for should check the GOV.UK website.

The bank also warned that the increase to energy costs has capitalised by criminals in their bid to steal money from innocent people.

Barclays added: “The rising cost of energy is also leading to scammers contacting consumers about energy price offers and refunds. 

“If someone gets in touch about an offer for a great energy price deal or a refund, don’t click on any links or give them any personal information over the phone.

“Genuine companies will understand if you want to look into the offer, or call back on a number you can find on their website.

“If you’re looking for retail offers and discounts, be wary of offers that seem too good to be true.

“Use reputable discount websites by typing the address in rather than using a search engine, or go directly to the retailer.”

Furthermore, the bank noted that scammers set up fake loan websites which promote extremely low interest rates to trick their victims.

Often, they will ask the person being scammed to pay an administrative fee before they can give away the loan as part of the scam.

To avoid this, Barclays is encouraging its customers to check which companies offer loans on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website.

Those who believe they are a victim to a cost of living scam can report their case to Action Fraud, the UK’s scam watchdog.

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