Scammers are cold-calling people and asking for bank details in order for them to receive the government’s £150 energy rebate, councils have warned
The one-off rebate is available to most properties in bands A-D, around four-fifths of homes in England.
Criminals are attempting to capitalise on the scheme by posing as government representatives over the phone, says the Local Government Association (LGA).
All households which pay council tax by direct debit will receive the rebate directly into their bank account, while others will be sent a letter with details of how to claim.
Council workers will never ask for bank details over the phone, the LGA said.
It also warned people to stay vigilant and not give out their details after unexpectedly receiving a text, email or phone call seeking personal information or payment.
"Councils are working hard to ensure eligible residents receive their energy rebate payments as soon as possible, however criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to take advantage of the financial worries people are facing and as a result many of these scams look legitimate on first impression," Cllr Mohan Iyengar, vice-chair of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said.
"Anyone can fall victim to a scam, and we urge people of all ages to brush up on the tell-tale signs, and the support available to those who need it.
"If you get sent a message that you believe to be fraudulent, you can report it to your mobile phone provider or by forwarding the message to 7726, a free reporting service provided by phone operators. You should also report the scam to Action Fraud to help others avoid falling victim in the future."