It's the middle of winter and, for much of the US and Canada, that means high heating bills. Scammers know this, and they are tempting homeowners with a "free energy audit." Don't fall for this con.
How the Scam Works
You get a call or a knock on the door from someone claiming to provide "free energy audits." They may appear to represent your utility company or local government. In either case, the scammer wants to come into your home, look around, and identify ways for you to save on your utility bills.
Don't let them in! The "energy audit" is really a set up for another scam; the actual con varies. In one recently reported version, scammers claimed after the audit that homeowners were eligible for government rebates or programs, a common scam where victims are asked to pay upfront for a non-existent grant. Other times, the "energy audit" is part of a high pressure sales technique, which tricks homeowners into purchasing marked up products (such as a $4,000 solar blanket) or shoddy construction work.
Tips to avoid a utility impersonation scam:
Local gas, water, and electric companies do sometimes contact their customers by phone. It can be difficult to tell a scammer from a real agent. Here are some tips:
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