Criminal gangs are targeting users of prepayment electricity meters by offering cut-price top-ups on the doorstep using illegal cloned meter keys. In these hard-pressed times it might seem tempting to buy £50 worth of electricity for just £25 from one of these crooks, but you will end up paying twice, once to the criminal and again to your electricity company. It is estimated that the gangs have pocketed over £7 million nationwide so far, with worst affected areas being the Midlands, London and Kent. Customers of all major electricity companies have been hit.
Top-up Safe campaign
To combat this fraud, Consumer Focus and the energy companies have launched a campaign called 'Top-up Safe', to make customers more aware of this scam. There is also a reward of £10,000 on offer for information leading to the arrest and conviction of these criminals. So far, over 120,000 customers have fallen victim, out of the more than 3.5 million prepayment meter users in the country.
The advice for prepayment customers to protect themselves is:
- Only buy top-ups from official outlets offering PayPoint or Payzone, or at Post Offices. Electricity companies NEVER offer top-ups on the doorstep.
- Make sure you get a receipt. Credit is transferred to your meter when you next insert your key or card.
What if you have been affected or have information about the scam?
Contact your electricity supplier or call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06
Or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111