UK Pack: a free boiler? Were we scammed? Urgent, please

My wife and I are worried we might have been targeted for a scam - or maybe some other dodgy activity. I’d appreciate your opinions, please.

I’ll try and describe all that I remember as carefully as I can, so apologies if this reads long, dull and boring.

TL;DR version: guy had us sign paperwork for a supposed free boiler paid by the government, and took some tax related information. We now doubt it was legit.

Long version: last Friday I was home with my wife. Some time after lunch, a guy introducing himself as “Gary from Go Green” rang our door and told us that there was a government program to fund the purchase of new boilers for home heating. He also showed my wife a badge, which she now says it said “Go Green”, with no logo or image. That’s when my wife called me.

Our boiler is old and faulty, and we are getting quotes for replacing it, so this seemed a Godsend. Maybe I should have remembered about things being too good to be true…!

Anyway, this Gary asked us that if our boiler was old enough, and if we were the recipients of Child Tax Credit - which for the benefit of non-UK people is a type of tax benefit people on lower incomes can get if they have children. We do get Child Tax Credit, so Gary told us that there was a very good chance that we could get the boiler replaced for free if it was old enough. He asked to see the most recent letter from the Inland Revenue (the tax people, for those not living in this here island), and he took a picture of it with an Ipad he had. Then he asked to have a look at the boiler, he found with our help its brand and model number and looked it up on some web site on his mobile phone.

Then he showed us the web page he found; the page said that the efficiency of our boiler was around 72% (if I remember correctly). Gary said that this, together with our boiler being faulty (it very visibly drips water), would let us have this free boiler. He encouraged us to apply and said it was first come, first served.

While we were talking, both my wife and I asked him the name of his agency, and if he could give us a web site for this program. In both cases he said we could just Google “go green” and we could easily find it, and that it was a similar program to the one that offered people with lower incomes, or children, or both, free insulation for lofts and cavity walls (that by the way exists, because we were able to participate last year).

Gary said that we were going to get “the same boiler” - he explained he meant the same brand when we were surprised. Then the paperwork came out. It was a single form to fill with our details, sign, and a checkbox to pass our contact information to British Gas, a large gas company famous for claiming high quality of work but charging though the nose.

He said the next step would be for an engineer from British Gas to contact us to evaluate the type and size of boiler needed. He also said that a colleague was around the area for solar panels, and asked if we were also interested. When we said yes, he said he would contact his mate and send him over.

This supposed other guy never arrived.

Later on in the evening we started to have second thoughts. We couldn’t find a company or agency or program called exactly “Go Green” that did this kind of thing. I found these guys but they do waste management. What we could find was a government program called Green Deal, which works kinda like a loan - the government pays ahead and people pay back by installments. There are cashback opportunities for people with Child Tax Credit but they’re for people on a very low income.

The most worrying thing was the guy taking a picture of the letter from the Inland Revenue. This had our National Insurance Numbers (similar to a Social Security number, for the USians), our full names and addresses. We are worried that they could be used to create fake identities.

So my wife called the police. They listened to our story and told us that, since we didn’t get asked any financial information, we shouldn’t have much to worry about. As for our National Insurance Number, the policeman on the phone explained that if something odd happened, the Inland Revenue would contact us to double check.

So, that was how things went. I suppose we could call British Gas and ask if they know anything about this. Are we being paranoid about it? Are we right to worry, and what could we do next? Was this a setup for something else entirely, like casing our house for a theft?

I suppose we should have remembered that if something is too good to be true it most likely isn’t, but in our defense we were ill and tired, and worried about this damn boiler of ours, and there were some government programs in the past to help with the costs of upgrading heating and insulation. But they were by the Labour government, not by Conservatives, who tend not to be keen on free stuff for poor people.

Going door to door seems like a pretty inefficient and risky way for a scammer to collect ID numbers.

My guess is that it will end up being a relatively dishonest and convoluted sales pitch. At some point someone will show up at your door saying you qualify, but you’ll need to pay for X,Y and Z before you can get your free boiler.

Would it be this?

Don’t know how legit it is

Green Deal does exist, this we found for certain, and a number of companies participate in the scheme. But the guy who came to see us said he was from “Go Green”, which is slightly but significantly different, and we cannot find anything about it.

Hence the suspicions of a scam, with a name just close enough to something existing - but not quite the same in case something comes up, maybe? Just like Simplicio suggested, maybe? Asking us to pay and, in the case of complaints, say “We’re not the people you thought we were”?

*"The Green Deal provider is essentially is effectively the company that arrange the finance for your project. Once your Green Deal plan by the Green Deal Assessor/Adviser has been formulated it is time to instruct a Green Deal provider, here at Green Deal GB we will scour all the deals on offer from the various Green Deal providers and put you in touch with the one that offers best value to you.

You DO NOT have to use your current electricity supplier to be your Green deal provider many different companies will offer different incentives to be your Green Deal supplier these may take the form of cash incentives or free goodies, we will keep abreast of all these offers and keep you informed which is the best provider for you.

Once you have had your Green Deal assessment completed fill this form out (click here) and we will arrange your ideal Green Deal provider.

The Green Deal provider will also lay out your finance plan and give you the planned instalment rate you will pay back, this will be a monthly amount and paid back over anything up to a 25 year period."*

Sure, spanna, but my concern is that this guy used a different project name, and asked to record data that maybe didn’t need to be provided on the spot.

I can’t imagine a legit organization would leave no paperwork, no card and no contact info with you.

I wonder if the idea is to scam the gov’t. Get information from people that would qualify for a subsidy, apply on their behalf and then pocket the subsidy somehow without installing any actual boilers. Maybe call the gov’t office that handles the subsidy and ask them (here maybe?). They’d probably be more interested then the local cops in any case.

FWIW: I flipped through the list of authorized Green Deal Installers and Providers and didn’t see any “Go Green” listed.

(sorry for all the WAGing without adding any actual information, I can’t sleep so playing “guess the scam” is keeping me amused, feel free to ignore me).

That was the MO with similar scams regarding loft insulation - get the customer to sign some paperwork, then use the paperwork as false evidence that the work was carried out, then pocket the grant money.

In other cases, it was a front for distraction burglary - scammer keeps the homeowner busy filling out forms while he, or an associate rifles through their valuables.

They won’t charge you for the boiler. They will charge you for the taxes, shipping, installation, hook up, and inspection.

If and when they show up, tell them you have changed your mind. Ignore anything they say after that.


The (semi-)scam that’s going around in Ontario is with people going door-to-door offering to replace your hot water heater “for free”. The hot water heater thing is kind of a red herring – the real purpose is to sign you up for a long term fixed price gas contract. The scammy part is that sometimes the door-to-door hucksters claim to be from your current gas company even though they really represent a different gas retailer. And sometimes they give you the hard sell, e.g. claiming that you could be in danger if you don’t replace your old water heater.

If they never came back, it’s probably not the same scam in this case, though.

Could it have been this Go Green ?

Small update: my wife did quite a bit of investigative work yesterday. called British Gas and the Inland Revenue. The British Gas people didn’t know about those guys, and said that, while the Green Deal initiative exists, we should go through our regular gas supplier for it, and she wasn’t in a position to help us more. Between the lines, it felt kinda like a message not to trust any random guy knocking on our door!

The Inland Revenue people said that the National Insurance Numbers are not used for anything outside their own stuff, basically, and that in any case in anyone applied for benefits for half a dozen disabled relatives they’d ask security questions and contact us in any case. They also said they’d make a note in the system, so hopefully they’ll be able to catch any dodgy stuff. Replacing a National Insurance Number appears not to be possible!

She kept digging and found the website of a company here in Newcastle. It looks like they recently opened shop. In any case their web site claims an assessment to evaluate could cost £99 pounds! That’s annoying, but I found British Gas charges the same.

My wife also called the guy again (he left us a mobile number), pretending to want more information on solar panel. She says the guy didn’t really know what to say, and when she asked him for a company address, he gave a fake one - she checked and there’s a fashion shop there. So Mr Scammy Gary probably doesn’t work for them.

Also, we couldn’t find a phone or address to talk to the Green Deal people (the ones running the government initiate) directly.

So, in conclusion, it looks like there’s nothing else for us to do at the moment but keep vigilant. We are now scared stiff every time we leave the house in case of thieves; even though we’re not rich we have a TV and a couple of laptops lying around. The Police won’t do anything, and the Inland Revenue can’t do anything either. Which is all oh so very British.

We won’t go through anything like a commission with some random company. We are going to look into this Green Deal and check if we qualify, but we’re going to go through a legitimate, long established company with a reputation to defend.

I now think all this could have been an attempt to case our place, but we live in a lower income area, so theft doesn’t sound like a good strategy; or it could be an attempt to claim government funding for work that is never going to happen, as some posters here suggested.

In our defense, the government and its funded bodies don’t help with their habit of sending people door to door to spread the good news about this or that initiative. It means that any scammer replicating that behaviour has a chance of being taken seriously.

Hi Lars just read your account of boiler debarcle, sounds very similar to mine. Can you do me something copy and paste and register onto mse forum. It’s very similar to this one but deals with Uk based events.

I too let 2 young men take images of my personal financial details and come to conclusion today that it was a huge waste of time for me on an evening when I really had better things to do. Unless the combined household income is less than £15,890 there is no point in perusing this too good to be true,as genuinely it is too good to be true.

PS I am in Cardiff, Wales and was “signed up” by Will from Eco Residential

Hi Lars
I have just had a similar situation. According to me my boiler is not covered by the replacement scheme. Having checked on line it is not too old and is over 86 %efficient. Like you the guy has taken benefits information.

He also has a habit of requiring the toilet. This is the second time he has visited. The last time was with his alledged wife who also needed the loo. Fortunately I was able to ensure they were not left alone.

I called back the number he phoned from on my mobile after he left and it transpires it’s some sort of removal company.

Please keep me posted if anything untoward occurs