The voice of the energy industry

International Fraud Awareness Week: How to protect yourself from fraud

Energy companies take fraud and crime very seriously as it can significantly affect our customers and businesses. We have processes in place – which we regularly review – to protect customers and ourselves from fraud. Our staff are trained to identify and report fraud protecting both consumers and businesses.

Some suppliers have produced advice guides to ensure consumers are aware of the risks and know how to best protect themselves from potential fraudsters. To support this, Energy UK has set up a Fraud and Financial Crime Group, where suppliers share information on potential identified risks and issues and work together to ensure customers are better protected.

However with scams becoming more sophisticated, fraudsters can catch out even the savviest consumers. This International Fraud Awareness Week, Energy UK and our members urge consumers to be alert. It is important that customers know what they can expect from their energy company and the steps they can take to protect themselves.

Your personal information can be very valuable even if it doesn’t seem like it. It is crucial that you are very careful with the information you provide to people who request it, even if they sound legitimate. You should only disclose personal or account information if you are absolutely sure that you are talking to the right person. Trust your instincts - if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

By knowing your name, address, contact details and basic information about your energy account such as recent billing dates and amounts, fraudsters can correctly answer the data security questions that we ask at the beginning of each call or online chat, and then gain access to your account. In other words, fraudsters can use your information to pretend to be you.

Follow our tips to protect yourself against fraudsters:

  1. Home visits:

A meter reader or installer will always carry visible identification and wear a uniform. The uniform will usually have your supplier’s logo on it, but it may bear the logo of one of your supplier’s partners who work on their behalf.If in doubt, you can always verify their identity by calling your supplier to confirm.

  1. Telephone calls:

Energy suppliers will always verify your identity by asking you a couple of security questions. Your supplier will never call you to ask for the passwords or security details of your bank accounts or cards, and they won’t call you out of the blue to ask you to re-confirm information they already know such as recent bill dates and values.

  1. Emails:

Any email suppliers send to you will always be addressed to the account holder or a nominated individual on the account.Your supplier will not ask for your personal details in an email except where previously arranged.

If you receive a call about your energy supply and you are unsure if it is genuinely from your supplier, hang up and call your supplier back using an advertised customer service number.

Energy UK will be sharing messages and a new video on how to protect yourself from fraud during the week using #FraudWeek.  Energy UK and suppliers also support Take Five to Stop Fraud, a national awareness campaign on financial fraud and scams, bringing together the financial sector and the UK Government. You can take their quiz to see if you are too smart to be scammed.

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