Gas and electricity Updated:
Elderly people have been warned to be aware of scammers offering energy saving devices.
Trading Standards is currently dealing with more than 200 complaints about people claiming to be energy suppliers or working in partnership with them, offering a plug in device which they say can save them 40% off their energy bills.
Tests carried out on the devices have found that not only do they fail to deliver any savings on energy bills, they also pose a risk of fire and electrocution.
The companies are calling people from overseas, duping people into paying £99 for the device.
Complaints have revealed that the caller always appears to be very credible by already knowing the consumer's details, their energy supplier and sometimes some or all of the digits of their credit/ debit card.
So far, four different suppliers have been named, 1 Stop Marketing Solutions, ITC Development Corp, Power Saver and Athico Ltd, but the fraudsters could be operating under other names too.
Trading Standards has warned that some of these names could be very similar to genuine companies - for example Power Saver Ltd, based in Tonbridge, Kent, is not involved in this fraud.
"Unscrupulous criminals are using the rising energy prices as an opportunity to lure in cash strapped consumers - elderly people seem to have been deliberately targeted," said Sue Jones from Westminster Trading Standards.
"The number of complaints we are currently dealing with is bound to be only the tip of the iceberg.
"Often consumers do not realise that they have been defrauded until they receive the dodgy looking device with instructions in broken English and the accompanying invoice which names an unknown supplier and often gives an American address."
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