Fraudsters are using the government’s Green Deal energy-efficiency scheme to scam households out of cash. The Green Deal allows people to install energy efficiency improvements without having to pay for them upfront. There is often a charge for an assessment, through which the homeowner finds out what improvements they could make. The assessment fee is what the scammers have jumped on.
Citizens Advice said more than half of the Green Deal scam victims were contacted out of the blue and offered thousands of pounds worth of home improvements for free. Victims have lost up to £500 after paying a fee for assessments that never took place, or if it did, they didn’t receive any further contact from the company. Other victims have been asked to provide their bank details for an assessment fee to be refunded, only for more money to be taken from their account.
Trading Standards said that one resident recently received a telephone call in which a caller, claiming to be from Scottish & Southern Energy, attempted to sell them “Green Energy”. Scottish & Southern Energy is a legitimate energy company, but Action Fraud said fraudsters “often use the names of real firms to add authenticity to their claims”. Action Fraud say consumers should not be afraid to hang up if they receive a call they are uncertain about. Citizens Advice is calling for a ban on cold calling and doorstep selling of the Green Deal.
You can report a fraud and receive a Police crime reference number by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Chair of Newbury and Thatcham Neighbourhood Watch