DWP issues fresh warning as new cost of living fraud is doing rounds

For Love or Money: Woman recalls sending money in romance scam

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Some eight million people are expecting cost of living payments this spring but the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is urging people not to fall for fraudulent messages. It has issued an update on social media explaining how people can spot a cost of living scam.

Millions of people who depend on benefits like Universal Credit, PIP and Pension Credit to help them make ends meet will be relying on extra cost of living payments this year.

These payments could add up to £1,350 for the poorest households but they are being warned not to fall for a scam pretending to be from the DWP.

The new social media warning states: “You may be able to get a payment to help with the cost of living if you’re getting certain benefits or Tax Credits.

“You do not need to apply. You’ll be paid automatically. If you have had a message asking you to apply or contact someone about the payment, this might be a scam.”

READ MORE: Lloyds Bank warns Britons about British Gas fraud email

It warns: “Watch out for scammers targeting people about #CostOfLiving Payments. If you’re eligible:

  • You do not need to apply for the payment

  • You do not need to call us

  • Payment to you is automatic

  • We will never ask for personal details by SMS or email.”

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Although the text messages are not asking people to part with cash, sharing personal details is usually enough to help fraudsters steal savings.

Anyone who receives a text message urging people to apply for any of the cost of living payments should ignore it.

The DWP also advises that recipients forward it to 7726 which reports the message as suspicious to one’s mobile phone provider.

Fraudsters often take advantage of current affairs with Lloyds Bank warning people not to fall for an email pretending to be from British Gas.

The bank is urging people to delete emails like this, without clicking on any links or replying because this could download spyware or viruses.

To check whether a message is genuine, people should call the company on a number they trust, rather than one from the message they have received.

Twitter user Louise Cook said: “Scam alert! I’m getting very realistic British Gas emails that are not from British Gas. Do not click on links in emails!”

Lloyds Bank said customers should call them urgently if they have clicked on the link or shared their banking details.

Meanwhile, online romance fraud has increased by nearly 400 percent in the last seven years with some victims losing thousands of pounds.

A 67-year-old retiree lost more than£50,000 and took out a second mortgage in a ‘convincing’ scam.

Norman appeared on BBC’s For Love or Money and told presenters Kym Marsh and Ashley John-Baptiste how he fell for the fraud.

He said: “Some of the £50,000 was savings, some of it was loans. Ultimately I took out another mortgage on my house and that helped me provide Michael with the money.”

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