• Warning issued after operator detects a significant increase in reports of ‘ECO4’ energy efficiency grant texts.
  • The charity National Energy Action advises anyone struggling with energy bills to firstly contact their energy supplier or local authority for support.
  • Virgin Media O2 is urging customers to forward suspicious texts to 7726 to protect themselves and others from fraudsters. Last year alone, it prevented more than 89 million texts from reaching customers in 2023.


Virgin Media O2 is today warning customers to watch out for fake ‘ECO4’ energy efficiency scheme texts after detecting a significant increase in the number of these messages targeting its customers.

The text messages sent by scammers are fraudulently using the government energy efficiency scheme and other energy bill support programmes as a ploy to trick customers into handing over personal data or payment details. They are now the fourth most common texts reported and blocked on Virgin Media O2’s mobile network.

Following the warning, National Energy Action (NEA), the national charity working to end fuel poverty, has advised anyone who may be facing financial hardship and struggling with energy bills to firstly contact their energy supplier or local authority as they’ll have a range of support measures available.

People can also check whether a company is verified to work on government schemes by searching for the business on TrustMark’s website, the government endorsed quality scheme.

More advice is also on NEA’s website, which is one of more than 60 websites that offer financial, health, education and wellbeing guidance that have been zero-rated on O2’s network. This means any O2 customer can visit the site without using any of their data allowance.

Customers can help stop spam messages by forwarding suspicious texts or calls for free to 7726 – which spells ‘SPAM’ on an alphanumeric phone keypad – on any network.

By reporting messages, it makes it easier for new trends to be identified and shut down faster. Numbers reported to Virgin Media O2 are blocked whilst messages are analysed to help improve the company’s firewall technology– which uses machine learning to identify new spam patterns and attempts. In 2023 alone, 89 million scam texts were detected and stopped from reaching customers, helping to protect them from potential fraud, in part thanks to reports to 7726.

Murray Mackenzie, Director of Fraud at Virgin Media O2 said “The rise in fraudulent messages linked to government schemes designed to tackle fuel poverty shows that scammers will stop at nothing when it comes to targeting their victims.

“That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant and take time before acting on an unexpected text. We blocked more than 89 million fraudulent texts from reaching customers last year, but with fraudsters continuously using new tactics to pray on their victims, we encourage customers to help by reporting suspicious messages for free to 7726 so we can investigate and stop scammers in their tracks.”

Top Spam Text Trends

Virgin Media O2 has released its latest snapshot of texts reported and blocked on its network to help warn customers what to look out for.

Despite the rise in new types of phishing texts, ‘Hi Mum/Hi Dad’ messages – where scammers pretend to be someone’s child texting from a new or friend’s mobile number because their phone is broken, lost or stolen – continue to top the list. These account for more than 2 in 5 spam texts reported and blocked on Virgin Media O2’s network.

This was followed by sham bank payment texts, and fake package delivery texts, where fraudsters claim to be from well-known and trusted companies to try and deceive people into revealing sensitive information.

Following a recent rise, scam energy support text messages are now the fourth most reported text that Virgin Media O2 is warning customers to look out for.




  1. Hi Mum / Hi Dad

Example texts blocked

  • Hi mum i’ve managed to break my phone this morning and had to get a new number please text [mobile number] asap x
  • Mum i’m using this number now. Save it to contacts please x
  • Hi mum i broke my phone this morning, [mobile number] is my new one, give me a txt
  • Hey mum my phone broke earlier today i’m so stressed out. I’ll be on this phone for a few days until i get mine fixed, save this number and reply so i know you got it xx
  • Hi dad, i can’t access on my old phone number anymore you’ll have to save my new one… Whatsapp me [whatsapp link]


  1. Fake delivery texts

Example texts blocked:

  • We tried to drop your order off but we could not , please visit [website]
  • James attempt to deliver your shipment today failed. To re-organise a new date for this, please visit: [website]
  • Evri: your parcel has been returned to our depot after a failed delivery attempt. Visit: [website] to schedule a redelivery
  • Dpduk: your item could not be dispatched. You can find additional details regarding this at: [website]
  • Hermes: hi there, sorry we missed you yesterday, we have your parcel. To reschedule a redelivery [website]


  1. Banking transactions or payment issues texts

Example texts blocked:

  • Lloyds- a debit of 237.54 was made to ‘john hasting? If this not you call us on [phone number]
  • Nationwide : hi, thanks for updating your personal information. Not you? Call [phone number]
  • Virgin money bank-a debit of 147.54 was made to ‘james gray? If this was not you reply N
  • NatWest: did you recently try to make a payment of 199.99GBP to Argos. If you did not request this payment reply N for no.


  1. Energy efficiency scheme and grants texts

Example texts blocked:

  • Great news! The ECO4 grants have gone live in the XX area, reply yes to get free energy efficiency upgrades to your property and save hundreds on energy bills
  • Govuk: we have identified you as eligible for a discounted energy bill under the energy bill support scheme. You can apply here: [website]
  • Gov-uk: due to the energy bill support scheme, you are owed ;400 under the discounted energy bill. You can apply here: [website]
  • Funding is now live in your area your property has pre-qualified for free energy saving grants to help with increased energy costs, to apply reply yes now.
Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
Virgin Media
press enquiries
press enquiries