How do online scams, like phishing or hoax activities, operate?
There are scam emails currently circulating that pretend to be from reputable energy companies, which claim you owe money for an outstanding gas or electricity bill and ask you to click on a link to view your account or to make a payment.
They often involve you being illegally contacted by an individual or company who pretend to be from AGL and who try to gain your personal information by falsely saying things like:
Your AGL energy bill is overdue and you need to share your credit card or bank account details to avoid being disconnected; or
You’ve been overcharged and we need your credit card in order to refund you.
These are just two examples, but if you receive a phone call or email that’s similarly unusual or suspicious that asks for your financial information, please do two things:
Ignore it; and
Call us directly on 131 245 to check whether we have been trying to contact you.
If you’ve provided your details on a website, by email or over the phone, and you believe you may have been a victim of fraud, please contact your financial institution immediately.
Remember, AGL will never send you emails asking for personal banking or financial details.
How the scams work:
You receive an email from a reputable energy company claiming that you owe them money.
The email may appear to come from a department like the 'Accounts Receivable Team' or 'Accounts Payable'.
The email may contain the subject title 'Your AGL Bills Update ✔'.
The email may or may not be from your current energy provider.
The email may claim that you have exceeded your energy consumption limit and need to pay or even that you are eligible to use a discounted energy tariff if you click on the link.
The email may direct you to click on a link to view your account, pay your bill or download an attachment.
If you click on the link, your computer may be infected with malicious software and your identity compromised.
If you 'pay' the amount, you will lose your money and may have your credit card details stolen.
How to protect yourself:
If you receive a suspicious email for outstanding energy usage - delete it immediately.
If you're not sure if this is a scam, contact your energy provider with the contact details from their website and not from the email.
Look out for tell tale signs of a scam email, including spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
Never click on the links from suspicious emails and delete them immediately.