ENERGY related crimes are on the rise in Shropshire as scammers use increasing energy prices to take advantage of customers.

The warning has been issued by Shropshire Council's Trading Standards team after they saw a rise in the number of reported scams in recent weeks.

Three notorious scams include the council tax energy rebate scam, Ofgem energy scam and E.ON energy scam.

Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s head of business and consumer protection said awareness is the best form of defence.

She added: "Scammers involved in energy related scams will typically claim to be from an energy company or Ofgem with the intention of misleading consumer’s into revealing personal information such as banking details, which the scammer uses to commit fraud against consumers.

"Finding and bringing scammers to account is very challenging as they often operate from countries outside the UK.

"The best defence is being aware of the risks and taking steps to thwart their attempts from the outset."

Councillor Ed Potter, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, regeneration and planning, reminded people not to reveal personal information and of the methods scammers use to gain trust from victims.

He added: "It is important to remain vigilant to reduce the chances of falling victim to scammers.

"Sadly, even the savviest consumer is at risk of being scammed at some point in their lives.

"Scammers are clever, sophisticated and can sound extremely convincing, even pretending to be from the council to lull you into a false sense of security, but be aware of uninvited contact through unsolicited emails, phone calls and doorstep cold callers.

"It is really important that you don’t reveal personal information such as banking details and if you are in any doubt, always seek advice and report suspected scams as soon as possible.

"Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is."

If you think you have been a victim of a scam or know someone else who has, you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08001448848 for advice.

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Friends against Scams is a National Trading Standards scams initiative which aims to prevent people from falling victim to scams.

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