Consumers are being warned about a doorstep scam promising cheap electricity which actually ends up costing them twice as much for their energy.
According to energy companies and government consumer body Consumer Focus, an estimated 85,000 households have been hit by the illegal sale of electricity meter top-ups.
The scam works by selling £50 worth of electricity credit to prepayment meter customers in exchange for a cash payment of just £25 – but customers end up paying twice because the money doesn’t going to their energy supplier.
Visit the Top Up Safe website or call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 if you think you’ve been affected.
Electricity top-up scam
According to Christine McGourty, director at the Energy Retail Association, a body which represents energy companies: ‘Just like when you buy something fake online – like a ticket for a football match or a music concert – you’re the one who’ll end up losing out in the end.
‘Energy companies can detect the fraud and you’ll end up paying twice for your electricity, first to the criminal and then again to your energy company, who can always detect when electricity has been used, but not paid for through the proper channels.’
Beat the energy scammers
You can consult Which? Switch’s energy advice centre for more information on prepayment meters, how to use one and how to switch to a different meter.
Consumer Focus is urging electricity prepayment meter customers to only buy top-ups via an official seller – such as the Post Office, Paypoint or Payzone – and to be ‘on the alert for anyone who comes to their doorstep claiming to sell electricity credit’ as part of a national campaign.
Crimestoppers also pledged its support and is calling for consumers to contact them anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via the Crimestoppers website if they know someone illegally selling electricity top-ups.
Lower your gas and electricity bills
You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.
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