Energy Scams


Tips to avoid falling victim

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We all receive calls, letters, emails, visits from people and organisations purporting to provide a genuine service or too-good-to-miss offer.

Unfortunately, many of these can be scams which affect the lives of millions of people across the UK.  Scammers are getting more sophisticated and often prey on those who are most vulnerable. As this month is Scams Awareness Month, we thought we'd take a closer look at Energy Scammers. 

 Energy Scammers will typically claim to be from an energy company or Ofgem.

Energy Scammers will typically claim to be from an energy company (whether from the Big 6 or a small independent company) or Ofgem (the UK electricity and gas regulator) intending to mislead customers in any number of ways.

For example, a scammer may claim that they can offer a cheaper rate on a pre-paid gas/electricity card, expecting the customer to pay there and then. But the scammer has no connection to the energy company and so, not only does the customer pay the scammer, but they must still pay their normal rate to their electricity company. Some scammers may also ask to see the energy bill which may give them access to the customer's personal details, enabling them to commit further fraud.

Things to look out for

Energy Scammers have many ways of operating, so be vigilant.

  • Salespeople who are requesting bank details or personal information.
  • Cold callers or door salespeople who claim to be from Ofgem. Ofgem does not have staff going door to door.
  • Salespeople who are insistent about gaining access to your home - especially if you live alone or are vulnerable. They may be looking to see how secure it is.
  • A door to door salesperson trying to sell you energy efficiency 'gadgets'. These are unlikely to reduce your energy bills and could even pose a fire or electrocution risk.
  • Salespeople who are determined to make the 'sale' there and then. Legitimate companies will understand that a potential customer may want to take some time to research and decide.

What can I do if I suspect a scam?

ALWAYS ask for identification (although this does not conclusively prove they work for the organisation they claim to represent).

DON'T BE RUSHED, take your time to find out more about anyone who asks you for money, information, personal details etc.  Get their official contact details from their website and contact them directly.

NEVER hand over any personal information. If the interaction is happening over the phone, you should be asked for a password or answer to a security question before any personal conversation. Do not give anyone any personal information.

If in DOUBT, ask for a name and a telephone number and hang up.  Check the phone number is for the company calling you and if it is, and you are happy to continue, call them back.  They won't mind if they are genuine.

Be AWARE of who your current energy provider is.

Friends Against Scams

Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to "Take a Stand Against Scams". Our partner, British Gas, is a Friends Against Scams supporter, helping to raise awareness of how to spot scams and where to go for help.

For more information on Friends against Scams go to friendsagainstscams.org.uk 

To report a fraud: call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

To get advice about a (potential) scam: Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506

For more help to stop fraud, go to www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk

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