/ Money

Scam warning: British Gas phishing email

A phishing email purporting to be from British Gas is fraudulently promising customers a ‘refund’ of more than £400. Have you come across it?

23/09/2020: Scam watch warning

This month, Which? Magazine’s scam watch column was contacted when an email claiming to be from British Gas said a customer owed £2.01 on their gas bill, urging them to click a link to log in then pay.

The email warned that if they didn’t pay within two days then they’d be referred to a debt collection agency.

This is of couse another phishing email that works in the same way as the one we covered here on Which? Conversation in September last year.

Which?’s scams writer, Faye Lipson, said:

“If you receive demands for your money or personal data, always stop and take five minutes to collect yourself.

Think about how you can verify what you’ve been told. In the case of British Gas, you can contact it via the number on your genuine utility bill”

25/09/2019: British Gas phishing email

British Gas is making its customers aware of a fake email telling its customers that they’ve ‘overpaid’.

As with similar phishing attemps we’ve been made aware of, such as this DVLA email, fraudsters are after your personal data and/or bank details.

Here’s what the fake email looks like:

The passing off of well-known and respected brands is nothing new. This year we’ve seen Bitcoin scammers impersonating Martin Lewis and the Mirror by email, while a member got in contact with our magazine to alert us of similar phishing attempts disguised as emails from the Royal Mail.

How to deal with phishing emails

We asked British Gas to comment on the email for Which? Conversation. Here’s what it told us:

“We take the issue of phishing very seriously and we take action where we identify any attempts to trick our customers.

We’ve recently become aware of an email which appears to come from ‘bills@britishgas.co.uk’ and we’ve warned customers that this is not a genuine email.

If any of our customers are concerned about a suspect phishing email they can send it as an attachment to phishing@centrica.com so we can look into it further”

We’d encourage anyone who’s seen the scam to send a screenshot to the email British Gas has provided. You can also make Action Fraud aware.

Which? News: 12 banks haven’t yet signed up to new scams protection code

If you think you’ve given a fraudster your bank details, contact your bank immediately. You should also change any passwords that may have been compromised as soon as possible.

You can view all our advice for spotting and reporting scams on our dedicated Consumer Rights site.

Are you a British Gas customer? If so, have you received this scam email?

Let us know in the comments if it’s turned up in your inbox, and help us warn as many people as possible.

Comments

This comment was removed at the request of the user

If you have an online account it will be easy to check that the information is false.

It’s about time that companies dealing with money were banned from including links in emails. It might be a convenience to have them but the are responsible for far too many scams. If it is necessary to contact a customer then simply ask them to log-in.

Not all British Gas customers, especially among the elderly, will have a computer and, so, would not be able to log in.

If they don’t have a computer they won’t be receiving the emails anyway.

Sorry Paul ‘wavechange’ is right – I’m nearly 80 and don’t log in via computer, nor smartphone, although I’ve got an online account with my gas supplier. Amazing how useful a Doro be…

Robert Moore says:
5 November 2019

i have today recieved this gas over payment email and i am not even with british gas

Wendy Carter says:
24 September 2020

Love it!

Darren says:
6 November 2019

I received it and the worrying thing was the figure they quoted was very close to my balance ….. very very nearly fell for it until I checked the e mail address ….. scumbags

Steve C says:
16 December 2019

checking to source email address is mostly pointless – it is trivial (and in some cases necessary/useful) to use a different email address as the source.

Also be aware of checking the link you’re asked to click on. The use of ‘1’ (one) instead of ‘l’ (lower case L) can be hard to see in many default setups’ fonts, and even a legitimate looking one (such is www dot genuine address dot com) can be followed by characters which hide the full address (such as www dot genuineaddress dot com dot actuallyatnastydomain dot com)

Generally be aware of unsolicited requests for information and helpful people contacting you to give you something or save you from some sudden jeopardy (e.g. ‘we have detected fraud on your account – we just need the 3 digits from the back of your card to confirm it is you so we can discuss the matter…’)

In these days of Zoom talks, I was almost taken in by a hacker who had somehow inserted themself into a website I wanted to listen to. I was invited to give them my credit card details to “register”. I didn’t and skipped the talk. Visiting the website later I found they had been hacked. Be careful even when trying to use innocent websites. You may be ambushed.

tracy kimpton says:
24 September 2020

I have been getting scam emails telling me my emails have been blocked and my account will be closed for a few months now, the scammers are hacking onto peoples accounts and sending these emails out. I had my account hacked last year but it was spotted and all emails they tried to send were stopped luckily but they still manage to hack into other accounts. it is annoying as fast as I spam one I get another from a different address, we need a way of filtering and spamming emails by type and not just address.

Ian Davidson says:
24 September 2020

I have recently received a couple of emails regarding my TV Licence. Body of email below.
The email is dated 7/25/2020 (American format), although it tells me that my licence will expire in 2 days time on 27/07/2020. It tells me that I have ’29 points’ which apparently give me ‘20% reduction’. At least it didn’t address me as ‘Dear Customer’ – it addressed me using my email address (which I have ‘anonimised’). Needless to say, I did not pay and the debt collectors have not arrived yet.

Information about your TVLicence

Date
7/25/2020 1:12:07 p.m.
Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 8:00pm, Saturday: 8:30am – 4:00pm
TVLicensing Official

Dear xxxxxxxxxx@blueyonder.co.uk

Oops! Something went wrong with your payment.

We’re sorry to let you know that the TVLicence could not be automatically renewed.

Renew your licence before it expires on 27 July 2020 to remain legally licensed.

If you don’t keep up with your payments, we may be forced to cancel your licence or pass your details to a debt collection agency.

How to pay?

Making a payment is easy – just follow the steps below:

tvlicensing.co.uk/xxxxxxxxxx@blueyonder.co.uk/update

TV Licensing details
Exp date: 27/07/2020 0:00
TVL No: 4976321075
Time Remaining: (2) days
Ref: 07096571346
Number of Licenses: 1
Your Personal Details
Primary Email: xxxxxxxxxx@blueyonder.co.uk
Registration: TV15UML46
Payment Method
Credit Card: Visa/MasterCard
Yes claims bonus
Number of points 29
Reduction: %20

Yours sincerely.

TVL Digital Broadcast Service Team

Roger Brearley says:
24 September 2020

A useful check on an email such as those referred to is to see if it is addressed to you by name. If it is just an impersonal email not addressed to anyone or to ‘Dear Customer’ it’s probably a scam. If it addressed to ‘Dear Mr Smith’ (obviously your name) then there is a likelyhood that it is genuine.
If in doubt, delete it, never click on any link. If it turns out to have been genuine the sender will contact you again. The ‘chat’ facilty on many companies websites is a quick way of verifying the situation.

james abraham says:
24 September 2020

Have had phone calls saying they are calling about a problem with my amazon account press 1 to speak to an adviser I do not have an account with amazon

arnold carroll says:
10 October 2020

These calls are from auto-dialing devices which can dial thousands of numbers per second, The pre recorded message informing recipient that their AMAZON PRIME ACCOUNT will be renewed by a future date etc .If you do not wish to renew press ‘1’ upon which the scammer will pick up and ask you to switch on your computer etc. At this point make an excuse that you need the charger as batteries are down and leave line open to hear him enquiring…Hello etc….Sometimes possible to string along the scammer for some time before they give up !!!

Anne Mitchell says:
24 September 2020

Not a British Gas scam but a Vodaphone one which was very similar. I received a text saying that my last months payment had not been processed. Would I click on a web address to sort out. Luckily I knew that there was no reason for the bill not being paid so I tried to contact Vodaphone to ask about the text. Why is it so hard to find customer support? It took me 1/2hr of making my way through numerous chats numbers that were automated and didn’t have a section for fraud. Finally a nice lady from Ayrshire told me that it was definitely a scam as I was up to date with payments.
You have to be pretty sharp and borderline paranoid to spot these scams. I was lucky.

Electronic biker says:
24 September 2020

I agree with Anne Mitchell. If any organisation, including any government department, want me to report possible scam emails they’ve got to make it quick and easy to do. I’ve got better things to do with my time than a) replying to email addresses only to find when I click ‘Send’ that they are unattended email addresses, b) listening to absolutely awful canned music interspersed every ten seconds by recorded “We apologise for the delay” messages until the handset battery expires, c) getting no response on the rare occasions when I succeed in sending a message, and d) hearing about banks, building societies, and large on-line sales organisations such as google and ebay taking virtually no action for months on end to prevent fraudulent activity.

Carole Saville says:
25 September 2020

I haven’t ordered anything from Amazon for quite a while but apparently:

Hello Customer,

We have placed a hold on your Amazoη account and all pending orders.

We took this action billing information you provided did not match the information on file with the card issuer.

To fix this problem, please verify the name, address and phone number registered on your payment card. If you recently moved, you may need to update this information with the card issuer.

Verify account

If we are unable to complete the verification process within 3 days, all pending orders will be canceled. You won’t be able to access your account until this process is complete. We ask you not to open a new account as a new order may be delayed.

We appreciate your patience with our security measures.
Thank you for your concern.

Kind regards,

Amazon Services Team

Patricia A Bettany says:
25 September 2020

I think that the firms who have been hacked also ought to be held responsible for not having adequate internet security.

Hi Patrica, since 1988, UK firms have been legally responsible for safeguarding customers’ data, see:-https://www.experian.co.uk/business/glossary/data-protection-act/

So prosecutions do actually occur, see:-https://www.csoonline.com/article/3518370/the-biggest-ico-fines-for-data-protection-and-gdpr-breaches.html

grumbler says:
28 September 2020

I’ve had phishing emails from BT, Paypal, Nat west and others. These all look very genuine with logos and the name of actual employees, far more official than ones in the past. Where I can I forward these to the companies Phishing section but not every company seems to be helpful in this way. I have spoken to Which about this, but as with most of my comments they seem disregarded. I feel this is a major issue that Which should investigate. The emails are so realistic and frequent I have decided that I will ignore all emails from companies and only reply to phone messages or an old fashioned letter.

I picked up a ‘phone call this morning from a person with extremely poor English asking about my £600 charge not to Visa, but my debit card. I told her that she was in a call centre and I could not understand her because of the ‘background noise’. She hung up!

Steven.frank says:
3 October 2020

I had two scams the other day. One email from British Gas asking me to reset my password. I’ve moved to BG after the demise of Ebico. Ive ignored.
One from Glasgow (0141 611 8778) on my mobile with IR demanding money from back taxes. Hung up

Gail Reed says:
8 October 2020

I had several scam emails in my hotmail inbox supposedly from MSN (Microsoft). When I finally opened one, it said that if I did not click on the link to confirm my account details my email box would be closed “tonight.” That was a Monday. I was reading the email in my inbox on the following Wednesday.

Linda Knox says:
9 October 2020

Received an email and a text today regarding a final bill amount for a closed account for British Gas.
Luckily I had already received a paper copy of the bill from Scottish Gas stating I have nothing to pay.
The text and the email both stated my details would be passed onto a debt collection agency.