Scams and Fraud

5/4/2022 | By Better Business Bureau

Scammers have devised a new con to cheat innocent consumers of their money – this time, by offering to save them money. Posing as local government and utility company representatives, con artists are offering phony home energy audits and services. The Better Business Bureau offers information on what you need to know to spot the home energy audit scam.

How the home energy audit scam works

A person posing as representative of your utility company or with the energy division of your local government comes to your door or calls on your phone. They may even display identification – but it’s fake.

worried man on telephone at. home. photo by Ian Allenden, Dreamstime. In the home energy audit scam, con artists pose as government and utility company reps to get personal identification & financial information.

The representative says they can save you big money on your energy bills – surely a tempting proposal! They may even insist on a tour of your home. These individuals may offer to install filters, thermostats, or other energy equipment to lower your bill, or they may say simply you are eligible to pay less. In order for you to benefit from these savings, you’ll have to sign a contract and provide billing information, including a debit or credit card number.

So, to review: In return for a promise from someone you didn’t initiate contact with, you have given them your signature, debit or credit card information, and possibly even Social Security number or other i.d., leaving you vulnerable to identity theft and having your accounts drained.

In the end, you won’t receive any discount on your energy bill. You won’t receive any services. The equipment you were promised won’t be delivered. You’ll receive no benefit from this home energy audit scam, but you’ll probably be charged the fees mentioned in the contract, and your personal information will be in the hands of a scammer.

How to avoid the home energy audit scam and similar impersonation scams

woman closing the door on an annoying salesman. photo by Michael Pettigrew, Dreamstime. In the home energy audit scam, con artists pose as government and utility company reps to get personal identification & financial information.
  • Don’t agree to anything on the spot. No matter how good the deal seems or how urgent the individual makes their offer seem, take time to do your research. Tell the person you need time to think about their offer and hang up or close the door. Scammers may tell you you’ll miss out on the deal, but taking immediate action isn’t worth getting scammed. Don’t be concerned about whether you’re being polite or not! A con artist is anything but polite – and if a person is legit, they should understand.
  • Go to the source. Contact your utility company or local government agency directly to confirm whether they really are offering energy audit services. This is the quickest way to find out if you are dealing with an impostor.
  • Get help. If you aren’t sure about what you’re being offered, talk to someone. Call a trusted friend or family member or contact your local BBB to find out if it you are dealing with a scam.

Related: For more articles on scams, with a focus on those targeting seniors, check out the Seniors Guide Scams and Fraud department

For more information

Learn more ways to protect yourself from scams by reading the BBB’s tip on avoiding impostor scams. You can find additional information at Become a skilled scam spotter by visiting and report any suspicious activity to

This home energy audit scam information came from the BBB serving Central Virginia: Richmond, the Tri-Cities, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, and 42 surrounding counties from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest, and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of BBB include business profiles, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, scam warnings, consumer and business education, and charity review.

Better Business Bureau