Fraudsters trying to use 300-euro energy payment to scam people in Germany
In September, millions of workers in Germany are set to receive a 300-euro energy lump sum in their bank accounts, a government relief measure designed to help with the rising cost of living. However, some tricksters are using the payout as an opportunity to try to con people out of their personal information.
Scammers tricking people into giving personal data for energy lump sum
The Consumer Centre North Rhine-Westphalia reported on Wednesday that unknown scammers were using the federal government’s flat-rate payment as an opportunity to try to fraud people out of their money.
There have been reports of people receiving emails, claiming to be from German banks, or SMSs from the “Federal Ministry of Finance” on their mobile phones, asking for the recipient to “confirm” some data in order to prove their identity and receive the lump sum. This kind of fraud, known as phishing, tries to trick people into visiting a fraudulent website and entering their personal data.
Unlike many scam messages, these attempts are quite sophisticated, with people receiving emails bearing the Sparkasse, Volksbank and Raiffeisenbank logos that contain virtually no spelling or grammar mistakes - which is usually a tell-tale sign that something is amiss.
German consumer centre warns: Don’t click links or reply
As the Consumer Centre reports, however, there is no need for your bank to check any data for you to receive your energy lump sum. It will be paid automatically along with your regular wages.
Anyone receiving messages like these has been urged to not click any links or reply. Instead, you should mark the messages as spam and block the sender. If you have mistakenly entered any of your data on an external website, the best course of action is to contact the police, or your bank, if you have noticed any unusual payments.