Six men have been jailed over GBP 17 million solar panels scam. They swindled around 1500 customers across the UK, targeting elderly, retired, and vulnerable people, manipulating them to buy panels. Promises that installation costs would be invested and they would get their money back in five years were false. “Lisa Osofsky, director of the Serious Fraud Office, said: “These men built predatory schemes to steal thousands from the hard-earned savings of vulnerable people while pretending to offer them a chance to improve their own financial security.”
Fraudster lured the victims with deceitful sales techniques, outright lies and false guarantees of reimbursement. On average they lost between GBP 10,000 and GBP 20,000 each. Money that was supposed to be invested into now-defunct Manchester-based firm Solar Energy Savings Ltd, the defendants spent on luxury cars and holidays.
Scams that are targeting most vulnerable people on the investment market are likely to become even more sophisticated. The key to preventing such cases is to build consumer awareness learning from previous frauds and predicting future possibilities of exploits. Investigative and preventive bodies are challenged to reach the trust of victims and guaranteeing them fair treatment in a matter not only of a punishment for the scammers but also the recovery of the invested funds.