Isle of Wight Council Trading Standards and Hampshire Constabulary are reminding residents who use electricity meter top up keys of a national scam that is becoming more frequent.
In December, warnings were out by trading standards and the police that people were knocking on doors claiming to be from energy firms and offering to sell home owners a top up key, typically with £50 credit, for half the price. Although the keys do have the extra electricity credit, they are cloned and are illegal.
Energy companies can detect when a cloned key is used and the key may subsequently become invalid, meaning the home owner will lose their money and have to pay again to top up their genuine key. The scam has involved customers of all the leading energy companies, including British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Npower and Southern Electric.
Over the last year, almost 120,000 households in the UK have been targeted.
Amanda Gregory, IW Council Regulatory Services Manager said “Although we have not had any reports of this scam on the Isle of Wight yet, it seems to be increasing and we would encourage residents who use pre-payment keys to be extra vigilant and only ever top up their keys at official outlets. These are shops offering PayPoint or Payzone and also at the Post Office.
“It is important to remember that companies will never sell electricity top ups at the door and if you are approached as part of this scam, close the door and get in touch with us, or the police if you feel threatened.”
Anyone who feels they may have become a victim of this scam can contact Trading Standards on (01983) 823396.
Anyone with information or who has been affected can contact police by phoning 101. From outside Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, call the police on 0845 045 45 45. Mini-Com users can call the police on 01962 875000. Information can be given anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999.