SCAMwatch is warning Australians to continue to be wary of scammers who offer bogus government rebates for the installation of solar panels.
How the scam works:
- You receive an unexpected call, email or house visit from someone offering either free solar panels or a government rebate/grant on solar panels following an upfront payment.
- Scammers may pose as government representatives or mention government affiliation or programs.
- The scammer may ask for bank account details or for a fee to be paid before the rebate/grant can be processed. In some instances, these promised rebates have not been paid.
- The scammer may pressure you into making a hurried decision claiming that the false grants or rebate schemes are due to close soon.
- In some instances the scammer may offer free solar panels in exchange for placing advertising signs on your property for a number of months. They will request an upfront fee and claim to repay it over the duration of the advertising.
- The scammer may claim to be from a legitimate company which sells solar panels and may even organise to visit your home but will not show up.
- Australian Government departments will never phone or email you asking you to pay upfront amounts in order to claim a rebate.
- Never confirm or provide personal details over the phone or by email unless you initiated the contact and trust the other party.
- Be cautious if you are contacted by someone claiming to be from government or a genuine solar energy provider. Verify who they are by finding the agency or company’s contact details from an independent source such as a phone book and contacting them directly.
- If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch.
SCAMwatch has issued a previous radar on energy scams:
- August 2010: Beware of 'green scheme' scammers
The Australian Government offers genuine rebates for the installation of solar panels and individual states and territories may also offer ongoing feed-in tariff programs. For further information on all available rebates visit the Your Energy Savings maintained by the Department of Industry.
You can also visit the Clean Energy Council website for a list of accredited solar installers.
Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter or visit http://twitter.com/SCAMwatch_gov.