What is the energy bill refund scam? Warning from British Gas over fraudulent email

People have been warned over a scam email claiming to be from British Gas (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images)
People have been warned over a scam email claiming to be from British Gas (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images)

A scam email pretending to be from British Gas is trying to trick people into thinking they’re eligible for a refund on their energy bills.

The email claims that the customer has overpaid their bill by hundreds of pounds – and urges them to click a link to get their money.

This scam is one of many that have appeared in recent months, as fraudsters exploit the cost-of-living crisis to try to scam their vulnerable victims.

The fake British Gas email says: “British Gas wants to inform you that you are eligible for a payment refund.

“Our records indicate that you have paid more than you should have for your British Gas service from 2020-2021.

“Because of this reason and that we value our clients we have decided to refund the total amount which you have overpaid.”

However, British Gas has warned customers that the email is fake and has urged them to avoid clicking any links.

In September, British Gas said: “Scam alert: Please be aware of a new scam email (like this one) pretending to be from us offering refunds.

“If you’ve had this email, or anything else suspicious, do not click on any links. Attach it to a new email & send to phishing@centrica.com. Then delete it straight away.”

Clicking the link in the email could lead victims to a scam website that will try to steal their personal or banking information, which they can use to commit fraud and steal money.

If you receive an email that claims that you are owed money, be wary. It’s especially suspicious if the email asks you to enter any personal or banking details.

Check the email address and contact the company the email claims to be from directly, via an official phone number or email address on their website.

The Government’s National Cyber Security Centre has issued advice for people who have received a scam email.

It says: “Forward us as many suspicious emails as you like. Send us emails that feel suspicious, even if you’re not certain they’re a scam - we can check.

“Don’t click on any links in a suspicious email. You don’t need to forward us suspicious emails you find in your spam/junk folder.”