Police are backing a campaign to tackle electricity prepayment meter fraud and are warning residents to be on their guard.
Police, the charity Crimestoppers, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the country’s biggest energy companies are working together to tackle this crime.
What is prepayment electricity meter fraud?
Prepayment meter fraud is when criminals knock on householders’ doors offering what seems like a good deal - £50 worth of electricity top-up for about £25. But energy companies can tell when meters have been topped up illegally and customers who top up in this way will end up paying twice for their energy: once to the criminal and then again to their electricity supplier.
Protect yourself from electricity fraudsters
A nationwide campaign, Top-up Safe, is warning customers not to buy illegal top-ups on the doorstep. Energy companies never sell electricity top-ups in this way, only through official outlets: PayPoint, Payzone and the Post Office.
DCC Stuart Hyde, who leads the Association of Chief Police Officers on the issue, said: “Intelligence from partners across the country has indicated that more than 120,000 people have been affected by this crime and criminal gangs have obtained millions of pounds by fraudulent means from some of the most vulnerable people within our communities. Where this crime is concentrated, police officers have been alerted to the signs of this fraud and partners in the industry have provided information and guidance so that together we stop people becoming victims and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Christine McGourty, Director of Energy UK, which runs the Top-up Safe campaign, said “Our Top-up Safe campaign has been a big success, but criminals will always be looking for new opportunities to make money and rip people off. Working with police forces across the country, we look forward to stamping out this criminal activity once and for all. Consumers can help by steering clear of anyone offering illegal top-ups. If a deal looks too good to be true it probably is.”
Anyone who has been a victim of this type of fraud should report it to Action Fraud.
Read more about top-up electricity fraud and download posters and leaflets from the Top-up Safe website.
Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.
To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.