Retailers offering pre-paid electricity payments are being urged to warn their customers against a UK-wide top-up scam being run by criminal gangs.

According to Energy UK, more than 114,000 people have fallen victim to the scam in which fraudsters con consumers into buying "cheap" but ineffective energy top-ups for pre-paid electricity meters.

Retailers should warn their shoppers of the scam and advise them to buy electricity meter top-ups only from official vendors, Energy UK director Christine McGourty said. "The only people benefitting from this scam are the fraudsters, and the only way to get the energy is to buy top-ups from PayPoint and Payzone retailers, or the Post Office," she added.

PayPoint head of corporate affairs Peter Brooker said that it had been working with retailers to inform them about the scam and pass on the warning to customers through pos and notifications on PayPoint receipts.

Retailers are advised to warn customers to contact the police or Crimestoppers if they have been offered cut-price energy. There are also downloadable pos information leaflets available at www.top-upsafe.com.

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