James Lee
- 21 July 2022

The rise of fraudulent activity

Family of middle aged man and woman at work together on project with contemporary laptops at long counter near large window at home

Technology is always changing. This development, alongside the growth of online messaging portals, means customers have seen an increase in fraudulent activity.

Reported cases of people impersonating energy suppliers are increasing, as well as seeing a rise in the number of customers being scammed.

With an upsurge in active fraudulent schemes, customers should be vigilant and question anything that seems suspicious. Validating information with your supplier is a strong starting point for stopping yourself from falling victim to a scam.

One way to question a caller is to use the basics of your contract. The supplying company should be able to answer the below points:

• Exact expiry date of your contract
• The date and reading of the last invoice
• The last four digits of the bank account your Direct Debit comes out
• Agreement date of the contract

If the supplier you are speaking to cannot answer the above, you should contact your regular supplier directly using the contact details that can be found on their website.

Below we have listed a few things that you can look out for when it comes to potential scams and how you can avoid them.

Things you can look out for:

1) Scare tactics

Fraudsters will sometimes turn to scare tactics to try and get you to part with your money. They will claim that there are issues with your account such as your meter expiring, or your payment being declined. They hope to make you panic, change your details or sign their contracts, leading to major issues and giving them access to your private data.

2) Debt collector

With some small energy companies collapsing, fraudsters have created scams using an old company name. They claim that there is remaining debt on your account and perform a scam that way.

3) Fake refunds

Emails have been received by customers from companies claiming to have their refund, or rebates, with a simple way of collecting their money, such as clicking a link, or to ‘sign in below’. This action allows the fraudster to gain access to the customer’s details.

4) Consultants pretending to work for suppliers

Consultants (also referred to as brokers) are a trusted source for customers. They play a vital role in meeting their customer’s needs and serve as impartial advisors to find an energy supplier that is right for them. Consultants are impartial, they do not work for suppliers.

Unfortunately, there will always be fraudsters. The best way to protect yourself is to make sure you are aware of who your supplier is, check all the details they send through and make sure that the email address and email itself are of good quality. No reputable company would send a poorly branded email with incorrect logos featuring on the page.

If you have received phishing email or text message that you know is fraudulent, do not open it but make sure to report it as a scam to GOV.UK.