With winter on the way and the U.S. Department of Energy predicting a sharp increase in heating bills, consumers are likely looking for any feasible way to cut expenses.

Scammers are apparently playing on those concerns in hopes of snagging the unwary in a new phishing scheme.

DOE says scammers are sending out spam email, pretending to be from the federal agency. DOE says it believes the purpose of the scheme is to infect victims computers with malware that will allow hackers to steal sensitive information, such as user names and passwords.

The subject line in the email says Urgent Notification and informs the recipient that an analysis of their bills shows they are due a refund from DOE for $480.58. To receive the refund, they must click on a link in the message. Doing so, says DOE, infects the computer.

DOE says the email appears to come from refund@energy.gov. The agency says that address does not exist. DOE also said it does not collect revenue from, or issue refunds to, the general public via email.


More Scam Alerts ...