Summer is approaching and rising temperatures mean high air conditioning bills. Scammers have come up with a new scam that claims to “save you money”.
Scam artists, posing as local government officials and utility companies, offer bogus home energy audits and services.
1. How does this scam work?
You are contacted by phone or in person at your front door. The “representative”: introduces himself as working for your utility company or with the energy division of your local government. They may even show you an ID, but it’s not real.
2. What do they offer you?
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 energy equipment to reduce your bill, or they may simply say that you have the right to pay less.
In the end, you will not benefit from any reduction on your energy bill and on any service. Equipment promised to you will not be delivered. It’s because this “home energy audit” is a scam. However, you may be charged the fees mentioned in the contract and your personal information will be in the hands of scammers.
3. What should we pay attention to when we receive the call?
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 actually 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 you are dealing with a scam.
4. Where can consumers report their experience?
Find out more ways to protect yourself from scams by reading the BBB’s advice on avoiding scams by imposters. You can find additional information at BBB.org/AvoidScams.