Cheshire West and Chester Council's Trading Standards officers are advising residents of an energy bill scam.
Some residents have received text messages, claiming to be from the Government (GOV.UK), inviting them to apply for the £400 discount under the Energy Bills Support Scheme.
However, the £400 will be paid automatically and you do not need to apply.
The £400 energy discount scheme introduced by the Government will see households in England, Scotland and Wales with a domestic electricity account get a non-repayable grant of £400 between October 2022 and March 2023.
It will be paid in six instalments, with the first two instalments of £66 paid in October and November, followed by four payments of £67 from December to March.
How you'll receive the discount depends on how you pay for your energy.
You'll get the discount monthly, even if you pay for your energy quarterly or use a payment card.
More information about how the discount will be paid to households for all payment methods, including prepayment meters and payment cards is able on the GOV.UK website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/getting-the-energy-bills-support-scheme-discount).
Councillor Karen Shore, the Council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategy Transport, said: "Please watch out for fake text messages claiming to be from the Government, inviting you to apply for the £400 energy discount. It's a scam – the £400 will be paid automatically. You do not need to apply.
"This scam has been widely reported, the messages invite people to apply for the £400 "non-repayable discount" and instruct the recipient to follow a link to a fake website to provide personal details.
It then encourages people to set up a direct debit to receive the money."
If you think you've been scammed, take the following steps:
If you've already responded to a scam, end all further communication immediately.
Call your bank directly and cancel any recurring payments – or, for speed and ease, you can call the new, secure159 hotline that connects you directly to your bank if you think you might be being scammed.
Report the scam to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or report a scam anonymously on theAction Fraud website.
If you want more help, contact Citizens Advice Scams Action via the Citizens Advice website, or call its Scams Action helpline on 0808 250 5050.