Summer is officially here. Rising temperatures mean high air conditioning bills. Scammers have come up with a new scam that claims to “save you money”. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to be on the lookout for imposters from government officials and utility companies who offer bogus home energy audits and services and provides the following information on what you should know for spot the scam.
“The idea of someone coming in with a quick fix, while being attractive, is often a ploy to try to steal your information,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, president and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “Resist the urge to act until you’ve done your homework.”
How does this scam work;
You are contacted by phone or in person at your front door. The “representative” identifies as working for your utility company or the energy division of your local government. They may even show you an ID, but it’s not real.
The scammers inform you that you could save big on your energy bill. Some scammers will even insist on a visit to your home. These people may offer to install filters, thermostats or other energy equipment to reduce your bill, or they may simply say that you have the right to pay less. Either way, they’ll ask you to sign a contract and maybe even do a credit check. They will also ask you for billing information, including your debit or credit card number.
In the end, you will not receive any reduction on your energy bill and on all services. Equipment promised to you will not be delivered. That’s because this “home energy audit” is a scam. However, the fees mentioned in the contract may be charged to you and your personal information will be in the hands of a scammer.
BBB advises the following:
Don’t agree to anything right away. No matter how good the offer or how urgent the person is to make the offer, take the time to do your research. Tell the person you need time to think about their offer and hang up or close the door. Scammers may tell you that you are going to miss the deal, but taking immediate action is not worth being scammed
Go to the source. Contact your local government agency or utility company directly to confirm if they do offer energy audit services. It’s the fastest way to find out if you’re dealing with an impostor.
Acquire help. If you’re not sure what’s on offer, talk to someone. Call a trusted friend or family member or contact your local BBB to find out if this is a scam.
For more information
Learn more ways to protect yourself from scams by reading the BBB’s advice to avoid scams by imposters. You can find additional information at BBB.org/AvoidScams. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call BBB at (903) 581-5704 or use BBB Scam Tracker.
Remember that there are big companies out there. Always look for the BBB seal; it is the sign of a better companySM. Start with companies you can trust by going to bbb.org. Look for the seal. It is the sign of a better company.
About BBB: BBB is a business-supported non-profit organization that sets and maintains high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most of BBB’s consumer services are free. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB business profiles on over 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity ratings, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting market confidence . Visit bbb.org for more information. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.