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Home energy auditor scam
© Edward J Bock 111 |
Security & privacy

Scam Alert: Fake ‘energy auditor’ could show up at your front door

Most people want to do their part in reducing the effects of energy consumption on the environment. While many recycle their trash or try to reuse everyday items, there is a growing movement among the environmentally conscious of using renewable energy.

If you don’t have solar panels or other independent generators, you can try to reduce energy consumption. Of course, that could be easier said than done.

Whether you’re looking to reduce energy consumption for environmental purposes or to save money, there is a brazen new scam making the rounds that you need to watch for. Keep reading to discover how thieves are tricking people into a fraudulent home energy audit.

Here’s the backstory

As temperatures start to rise across the country after a cold winter, now would be the perfect time to ensure that your air conditioning system works correctly. Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the annual maintenance to trick people out of their money.

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), scammers are going around neighborhoods pretending to be from your utility company or with the energy division of your local government. The hook of the scam is trying to convince you that your energy bill is too high and they can help you save money.

Some are insistent that they want to tour your home and soon afterward offer to install filters, thermostats, or other equipment to reduce your bill. Of course, if you take the bait, they’ll expect you to sign a contract that includes the home audit fee and your banking details.

These schemes happen over the phone, and some are bold enough to knock on your front door. But don’t fall for the scam.

What you can do about it

The BBB warns that if you pay the fraudulent energy auditor, you won’t receive the promised equipment, and you’ll be out your hard-earned money. On top of that, the scammer now has your personal information, which could lead to further damage.

Here are some BBB tips to stay safe this summer:

  • Don’t agree to anything on the spot. No matter how good the deal seems or how urgent the individual makes their offer seem, take time to do your research. Tell the person you need time to think about their offer and hang up or close the door. Scammers may say you’ll miss out on the deal, but taking immediate action isn’t worth getting scammed.
  • Go to the source. Contact your local government agency or utility company directly to confirm whether they really are offering energy audit services. This is the quickest way to find out if you are dealing with an impostor.
  • Get help. If you aren’t sure about what you’re being offered, talk to someone. Call a trusted friend or family member or contact your local BBB to find out if you are dealing with a scam.

Keep reading

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