How to avoid energy scams
Since the start of the cost of living crisis, people across the UK have been targeted by energy-related scams. With financial worries on all of our minds, more people than ever are at risk of being scammed but luckily there are some easy ways to protect yourself and loved ones.
"Sometimes people may try to scam you by contacting you by pretending to be your energy supplier. They may claim they need your personal information or bank details in order to issue a refund, offer a cheap prepayment meter top-up card or provide energy-saving devices. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is - don't give your details out to someone if you're not sure who they are."
Rosi Avis - Citizens Advice Manchester
What is an energy scam?
Energy scams involve people pretending to be from energy companies, government, your local authority or regulators to get hold of your personal information or bank details. They may try to contact you in a variety of ways including text message, email, knocking at your door, post, social media or phone calls.
How can I spot an energy scam?
Unfortunately energy scams are on the rise. Scammers never stop looking for new and innovative ways to help you part with your money. But the best way to spot an energy scam is to stay vigilant and know what to look out for.
Here are some key signs that a scammer is at work:
- You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company
- A deal looks too good to be true
- You’re being pressured to transfer money quickly
- You’ve been asked to pay in an unusual way
- You’ve been asked to give away personal information such as passwords or PINs.
How can I protect myself?
- If you have any doubts about a message, contact the organisation directly
- Don't use the numbers or address in the message, use the details from their official website
- Your bank or any other official source will never ask you to supply personal information via email
- If you've received an email which you're not quite sure about, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to do if you think you’ve spotted a scam?
If you think you’ve spotted a scam but haven’t yet given away any personal information or money, you can contact Citizens Advice for support.
If you’ve handed over any financial and personal information or made a payment, you should talk to your bank or card company immediately. You should also report the scam to Action Fraud and Citizens Advice. By reporting scams, you can help reduce the chances of someone else getting defrauded.
What genuine financial support is available?
If you’re struggling to pay your energy or household bills, extra help could be available. We've teamed up with Citizens Advice and the Energy Saving Trust to provide practical advice and support. To request a referral call our Extra Care team on 0800 195 4141.
Free online scam checker tool
For more help try the Citizens Advice free online scam checker tool.