Energy scams: how to spot and protect yourself from dodgy deals

As the number of reported energy scams has risen in line with energy prices and the cost of living, a UK specialist law firm dedicated to energy litigation is issuing advice for businesses and consumers to protect themselves and their assets.

Energy Solicitors Ltd, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, is highlighting how consumers and businesses can be vigilant and avoid energy scams, by offering advice on what to look out for and what to avoid.

Senior Partner, Victoria Myers, said: “Most energy scammers set out to obtain personal and financial information and often do so by pretending to be someone they’re not – usually an official representative such as an energy company, Ofgem or a Government body or scheme.

“Victims will often be offered “exclusive” opportunities or energy deals that claim to be much cheaper than alternatives and supposedly cannot be obtained elsewhere – but this is simply a ruse to obtain banking information or move money into their own accounts.

“Once you’ve fallen victim to these sorts of scams, it often becomes near impossible to identify the perpetrator and recover any losses, which is why we want to advise businesses and consumers on how to protect themselves in the first place.”

What should I look out for?

Scammers may use various forms of contact to get in touch with you, such as phone calls, text messages, emails, doorstep marketing, social media or by post, and their communication can often present itself as extremely convincing.

Whilst there may be new techniques to trick people, most attempts to obtain information can be spotted if you’re vigilant and know what to look out for, such as:

  • Any indication that you might not be dealing with a legitimate company such as spelling or grammar mistakes, a logo that doesn’t look right, or poorly formatted emails or letters.
  • Links or URLs that look strange or being asked to click on links and fill in information.
  • Any requests for personal information that you wouldn’t normally be asked for or that the company should already know – a typical tactic is to ask you to “confirm” information.
  • Any deals or offers that look too good to be true – if it looks too good, it likely is too good.
  • Any reference to the Energy Bill Support Scheme or similar offerings – this scheme is no longer running, but some scammers are still claiming to be able to grant you this entitlement.

How can I avoid being scammed?

It can be fairly simple to avoid energy scams if you know what to look out for and remain vigilant – don’t click on any links or provide information unless you are completely certain that the request is legitimate.

If you’re unsure, the best thing to do is to initially ignore the communication and contact the company they are claiming to be directly, using information provided from their website or any official documentation you may have – they will then be able to confirm whether or not the communication is legitimate and originated from them.

What should I do if I think I have been scammed?

If you think you may have fallen victim to an energy scam, the best thing to do is to report your experience to Action Fraud UK, or Police Scotland if you live in Scotland, to reduce the chance of the same thing happening to someone else.

If you’ve handed over any personal information, bank details or money, contact your bank immediately if you have any concerns over your financial security.

Energy Solicitors is a specialist law firm dedicated to energy litigation for businesses and households. With over 20 years litigation experience, we have an in-depth understanding of the legal claims process, which enables us to adopt a cutting-edge approach to litigation.

For more information or for expert advice, email info@energysolicitors.co.uk or get in touch.

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