How to Avoid a Business Energy Scam
Sadly, we live in a world now where the most vulnerable in our society are preyed upon by professional criminals. You can prevent your business from becoming yet another victim of scammers by being aware of the warning signs in this guide.
What business energy scams should you look out for?
Scams can come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes they’re very hard to spot. With organised, professionally-run crime groups targeting certain areas, demographics or types of businesses, it’s important to be able to spot the signs of a scam.
Telemarketing scams can differ depending on who might be targeted. Sometimes they will target specific people, particularly older or vulnerable people that scammers think they can manipulate and convince to hand over their details.
They may also target people at random, selecting phone numbers and trying to get them to pass over their details. And finally, the most convincing scams can be when groups have hacked into a database. Data breaches, thankfully, aren’t common as energy firms have improved their security to prevent breaches from happening; however, when breaches do happen they can be very convincing – after all, they’ll have all of your details.
Remember, no energy company will call you directly to ask for your bank details or personal information. If you think you’ve been a victim of an energy telemarketing scam please report it via the following options:
Call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online form
Please send suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
In Scotland, call Police Scotland on 101
Always call 999 in an emergency, if you feel threatened or unsafe
The most common type of scam, not just in the energy market but in general, is email scams. These scams tend to urge the receiver to provide sensitive information, such as addresses, names and bank details that relate to the account. You should be very wary of any unsolicited emails that appear in your inbox or junk. If you think you have received a suspicious email you should:
✔ Check the email sender’s address – is it correct?
✔ Hover over any links before clicking them, the legitimate links should show the actual URL destination (typically in the bottom right of the screen on a desktop) – do they go where you expect them to?
✔ If you’re on a mobile device or tablet, you may want to consider waiting to check the email fully on your computer or laptop
✔ Look for grammatical errors
✔ Be cautious of overly urgent wording
✔ If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
You should also avoid opening any attachments in an unsolicited email to avoid cyber-security attacks. Your IT department should be able to scan and approve any attachments you’re set before you open them.
Picture the scene: you get a knock on the door. It’s a smartly dressed salesman who has come to talk to you about your energy costs. They know who your business is currently with and want to grab some personal information from you.
Well, they might dress smart and know your supplier but that doesn’t mean they’re to be trusted, with authorities saying that these types of energy scams are now back on the rise. Using high-pressure sales techniques they will try to get their unsuspecting victims to sign up for energy deals. If these deals are too good to be true, then they probably are! This is a case that is more likely to be seen with domestic customers but it is certainly one businesses should be made aware of.
Social media scams
As social media continues its seemingly never-ending growth, it’s increasingly becoming a platform for online energy scams. Understanding what they look like first of all is the best way to stop your business from becoming the next victim. There are a few things you should look for if you’re suspicious of an offer on business energy from a provider you have never heard of, look out for:
✔ Pressurised language that is trying to get you to sign up urgently
✔ Few or small amounts of followers or reviews
✔ Direct messages or comments that are promoting energy deals; legitimate suppliers rarely do this
Another technique used by scammers is to use text messages to fraudulently obtain information from you. Much like social media and email scams text message scams have a few red flags that will be flying when an energy scammer is trying to get into contact with you, including:
✔ Spelling errors or punctuation errors
✔ Unknown senders – these should be approached with serious caution, and you should never click a link on a text message from an unknown number
✔ Never share your personal information if it is requested
What to do if you get a scam call
If a phone call comes through and you’re wondering what you should do, take a look at our checklist below. The tips are simple and easy to remember and will help you take the right steps to protect your business if you suspect that you’ve been targeted.
Don’t give out personal details
The one thing scammers want from you is your personal information; with this, they can access your details and steal money from you or your business.
A super easy way to deal with potential scammers is to put the phone down or cease contact; if you don’t interact with them they won’t be able to do anything with any of your accounts. This leads us nicely to the next point…
Ring the real organisation back
If you do hang up but later question whether it was a legitimate call, go onto the website of the energy provider who you believe called you and check if their contact details match. For an extra layer of protection, you could even ask them if they have contacted you. This allows you to be certain that it was or wasn’t a scammer.
Check the Citizens Advice Online Checker
The Citizens Advice scam checker allows you to check if the email, call or text message you have received is a scam. You can take the online questionnaire to see if you have been targeted and they talk you through everything you need to know about a potential business energy scam.
What to do if you think you have been scammed
If you believe you have been scammed you should report your case to the Action Fraud team who are the reporting centre for both fraud and cyber crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you have given personal details or information about your banking then you must contact your bank as quickly. In Scotland, you should call Police Scotland on 101.
Finding a new business energy supplier
If you’re coming to the end of your existing fixed-term business energy contract, or if your existing contract has already come to an end. You’ll now be looking for a new business energy deal for your business. Finding a new deal usually means using a business energy broker or comparison website, or finding a new deal yourself.
Many people look online for business energy brokers to help them find a new energy supplier for their business. There are a few steps you can take to ensure that you’re using a reputable broker to help your business. These include reading through the website and checking the information they have published on their websites.
A reputable and knowledgeable business will spend time writing guides such as this one and the many other business energy guides we have written to help educate their visitors and customers.
Our business energy experts found that many of the people they spoke to daily had many questions, not currently answered online. So we knew our guides would be helpful to many more people than just our current clients.
Why use Exchange Utility to compare business gas and electricity?
We’ve answered many questions about our services and switching your business gas and electricity on our business energy FAQs page.
✔ Our customer support team is one of the best in the industry
✔ Comparing gas and electricity with us will save you time
✔ We have years of experience in the comparison of businesses gas and electricity
✔ We have built a solid reputation for being a reliable, independent and trustworthy comparison company
✔ We are able to compare electricity and gas prices from industry leaders to find you competitive rates
✔ Whenever a business gets in touch with us, we always work hard to get them the most competitive rates
✔ Don’t just take our word for it see what our customers are saying about us on Trustpilot