The increasing misery and desperation of many citizens in the face of the energy crisis calls scammers onto the scene. FOCUS online shows which scams consumers need to watch out for.

New crises, new tricks: It wasn’t long before the energy crisis and horrendous inflation called scammers onto the scene who want to capitalize on the plight of many citizens. Instead of the “grandchild trick” or the “fake policeman” new stitches are used. FOCUS online shows you which deceptive maneuvers you have to be careful of.

As “BR24” reports, trying to sell new electricity contracts over the phone is a popular trick. This is also confirmed by a spokesman for the Munich police. As a result, this is a “phenomenon that has been known for a long time”: Supposed employees of electricity companies or municipal utilities would advertise cheaper tariffs, usually on the phone or at the front door.

Since the fraudsters would ask for the IBAN, among other things, it would also be possible that the fraud attempt is not aimed at money but at sensitive data.

Since this summer, fraudsters have increasingly been advertising allegedly particularly cheap firewood or wood pellets. As a rule, cheated consumers transfer a corresponding sum without subsequently receiving the goods. It is usually lower amounts in the three-digit range, reports BR24. Such fraud attempts date back to the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

When asked by FOCUS online, Simone Bueb from the Bavarian consumer center explained that several complaints had already been received. With the currently very high prices for wood and pellets, according to Bueb, “an alleged bargain should be examined carefully.”

A particularly bold advertisement is currently making the rounds: a cheap fan heater promises to replace expensive gas heating and heat just as efficiently. The devices are called InstaHeat or VistaHeat and cost between 30 and 50 euros on average. Although both devices are sold by supposedly different manufacturers, they use the same advertising. The consumer portal “Mimikama” also writes that in addition to the exaggerated product promises, the positive Amazon customer ratings are probably fake.

That alone should set the alarm bells ringing – but the promise of the devices to heat a room as cheaply as possible within seconds is hardly tenable. In principle, socket heaters are not able to heat up entire rooms. Rather, they are suitable for heating a few square meters, such as attics or guest toilets.

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It is not obvious to all consumers that a particularly cheap offer is fraudulent. Consumer advocate Bueb and the Munich police therefore explain what you should pay attention to:

The bad news is, simple transfers cannot be reversed once your bank has made the transfer. According to the Bavarian consumer advice center and the Munich police, you still have a chance of getting your money back with other payment options.