As your trusted supplier, we take fraud and crime seriously and want to do everything we can to help protect our customers. With the recent energy crisis and increased cost-of-living, there has been a significant spike in scam activity targeting domestic and business customers, particularly with the prospect of reducing their bills or applying for government support.
This type of criminal activity can present itself via several forms, including door knocking, cold-calling, email, text, whats app, messenger and social media. The messaging of these attempts can be very convincing, often impersonating the energy supplier and going to great lengths in cloning their branding and contact information. They may even contact you claiming to be from Ofgem the energy regulator. To help you spot such activity and protect your business from fraud, we have put together the following advice:
Don’t open or click on suspicious emails/messages
Scammers can attempt to obtain personal information from you via “phishing” emails, texts or messaging apps. These can look like they are from a trusted source and might offer an energy rebate or energy saving advice. Whilst many are easy to spot, some are quite sophisticated. The typical signs to look for are unusual sender addresses, poor grammar, low quality content and suspicious links, particularly when you hover them if in an email.
If in any doubt, don’t open them and delete immediately. You can also report such phishing emails to your IT department or email supplier. If you did want to double-check the email or message, don’t use the contact details provided. Instead, get in touch via verified information, either displayed via secure correspondence (for example an invoice) or the main website contact page (found via search engine).
Recently there has been a wave of scammers contacting customers pretending to be the energy supplier, promising them extra payments and funds to help with increases in energy bills. Thereafter requesting personal information such as your bank account details or your password. At SmartestEnergy Business, we will never ask you to confirm any personal information when we email or message you.
When we do contact you by email it will be from a ‘@smartestenergy.com’ domain address, for example email@example.com.
Question any unexpected contact via telephone call
You should also remain aware and question any unplanned contact made via phone call. Criminals can contact you pretending to be from your energy supplier, asking you to confirm personal information or passwords, often putting you under pressure to do so. We have also had reports from customers that have left a review on a review centre only to receive contact thereafter from illegitimate parties encouraging them to pursue an action.
If you’re suspicious about any such call, hang up. If the call is from someone at SmartestEnergy Business and you are concerned about the legitimacy, take their details and the nature of their call, and you can call us back using one of the telephone numbers on your invoice or our website. For security reasons, when you contact us, we will ask you some basic data protection questions to check we are speaking with the account holder. If you wanted to add a higher level of security to your account, you can ask to set up a secure password for telephone contact.
When we do contact you by telephone, our UK contact centre will display a local number starting ‘01903 703XXX’.
Engaging a broker for energy services
If you are contacted by an energy broker, before deciding whether to engage their services, we would firstly advise that you do your own checks to ensure they are legitimate, well-established and trusted. Researching them online via review centres such as Trustpilot is a good start, also check that the are registered with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Scheme. More information on the ADR Scheme is available here.
If you do choose to appoint an energy broker, they will be required to operate on your behalf under Letter of Authority (LOA) when handling your supply contract with an energy supplier. If they do not present you with an LOA and take time to explain the implications of signing one then you should question their credibility and not proceed until you are satisfied that they can be trusted.
Use strong passwords and keep them safe
When using our customer portal (smartweb.smartestenergy.com) or any online platform, we advise creating a password that’s at least 10 characters long and contains a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and characters. Don’t use company names, people names, or place names and avoid obvious passwords like ‘password123’
Never write your passwords down and where possible use different passwords for different platforms. You can also use a password manager to securely store your passwords. Get Safe Online has tips around using strong passwords and staying safe online. It’s supported by the government.
What to do if you suspect you have fallen for a scam
Depending on the severity of the scam and whether you have provided sensitive information such as your bank details, you should report it immediately to your bank. If it is specifically relating to your energy account, please contact our Customer Services Team on 01903 703400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should also register the scam via Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre. For further details visit their website here.