Customers of energy provider AGL Energy are being urged to pay very close attention to their energy bills following reports that some people have been sent hoax emails.
AGL released a statement on Tuesday explaining to customers it was aware that scam emails were targeting Australians and that the fake emails looked like legitimate bills from the company.
“We have received reports of hoax emails in circulation with the subject line ‘AGL electricity bill’ falsely claiming to be from AGL,” a message shared across AGL’s social media pages said.
While the company advised it works hard to make AGL safe and secure, it said scam alerts, phishing and hoax emails can pop up – although they’re not really from AGL. These hoax emails warn customers they owe money for an outstanding electricity or gas bill, prompting them to click on a link to view their bill or make a payment. In reality, scammers are either gaining access to the victim’s computer to steal personal information or tricking them into handing over information or bank details.
We have received reports of hoax emails in circulation with the subject line "AGL electricity bill” falsely claiming to be from AGL. Learn how to identify this hoax or scam email and what to do if you receive one here: https://t.co/v1vAeVdhA8 pic.twitter.com/RCYCT94s6m
— AGL Energy (@aglenergy) October 9, 2018
Thankfully, there are things customers can look out for to ensure a message is legitimate and from AGL. All AGL electricity bills are sent from [email protected] Any email address that looks different in any way could be a hoax and should be deleted and ignored. Equally, all official AGL emails include the customer’s supplied email address and account number in the email copy. Any message missing this information should also be deleted.
AGL also warned that emails will never be sent to customers asking them to confirm personal or banking information. Worryingly, other customers have received phone calls where scammers are pretending to be from AGL to obtain information. In these cases, people are being asked to make payment over the phone and are threatened that their services will be disconnected if they don’t comply.
Customers are told things like “Your AGL energy bill is overdue and you need to share your credit card or bank account details to avoid being disconnected” and “You’ve been overcharged and we need your credit card in order to refund you”. AGL said it will never threaten disconnection within 24 hours of contact and these calls should be ignored.
For any customers who think they may have already fallen victim to the scam, there is help available. It’s best not to click any links in any old emails and to instead contact the AGL Help Desk on 131 245 and select option three. Customers are also advised they can contact AGL directly if they’re unsure if a message is a scam or not and that bills can be viewed on the AGL app or through the My Account section of the official website.
The latest scam comes just months after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned that scammers were impersonating well-known businesses and the police to access computers, steal money and banking information.