LUTON has been revealed as one of the UK’s hotspots for a scam in which criminals offer cut-price energy to those with pre-payment meters.
A new report using data from leading energy suppliers, including British Gas and EDF Energy, says 1,500 households in Luton have fallen victim to a scam where they have bought pre-payment energy that doesn’t exist.
Energy UK says the con is being carried out by organised criminal gangs, and are urging customers only to buy their electricity meter top-ups from the Post Office or official PayPoint or Payzone retailers.
A spokesman for Energy UK said: “The scam is of particular concern because to obtain the fake top-ups people must let the criminals into their homes to access their electricity meters.
“Reports of threatening behaviour from the perpetrators of the fraud have been received by some energy companies who are urging people to steer clear of those involved. Police have also made arrests in connection with this activity.”
Luton was the 12th worst place in the country for the scam, with London, Birmingham and Manchester in first, second and third place.
Christine McGourty, director of Energy UK, said: “Since launching the Top-up Safe campaign in September, energy companies have been working together to tackle prepayment fraud. However, the numbers of incidents continue to rise as more people fall victim to this serious scam.
“The people selling these illegal top-ups are criminals and although it might seem like an easy way to save money, not only will you be letting a criminal into your home, you will end up having to pay twice.