Every year, as the weather wanes and the air gets chilly, the scamming heats up.

It’s usually around this time of year that we get a slew of tips from residents about scam artists on the prowl. That’s because one of the most popular scams is when the con artist poses as a representative of a heating company, telling you that you can save money if you give him or her your personal information and/or access to your home.

Just today, we received a tip from reader James F., who lives in a building on Ocean Avenue.

“Three guys came to my door and wanted to go over a utility bill of mine—I don’t know which one because I didn’t want to pursue the conversation,” the very wise James wrote. “Just told them to leave the building. Was going out a few minutes later and saw a number of them going through the building with one guy stationed in the vestibule with a phone.”

The police reported at a recent civic association meeting that they’re also seeing an uptick of such reports. They reminded residents that if a person comes to your door unexpectedly and requests personal information of any kind, do not give it to them. Ask for their ID, make them wait outside while you call the company, and – if things don’t check out or they refuse to comply – call 911 immediately.

 

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  • Anonymous

    This reminds of another scam where people in congress tell you to vote for them and they will save you money but at then end they just scam you.  Buyer beware!

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      Oh, we have a congressman right here in Sheepshead Bay like that.  Him and his friends are going to leave town before the payroll tax cut is extended. That way the extension fails, we pay more, and they claim they didn’t vote against it.

  • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

    These ESCOs (Energy supply company) need very little info off your ConEd bill to switch you over to their service which more than likely will cost you more money. Call your building super or landlord to take issue with them.

    They’ve stopped by my house on 3 occasions this year using language that makes them sound like they represent ConEd so be aware. Your first question, and you might have to repeat it because they will repeat their deliberately misleading language, should be “Do you work for an Esco?”

    If the answer is “No” get their ID and verify they work for ConEd. If their answer is yes you have the option of:

    A) Being courteous and saying something like, “Send me something in writing. Have a good day”

    B) Telling them to leave your property and threaten them with calling the cops.

    If A fails, go to B.

    They also do this over the phone, so the apply the question, “do you work for an esco” there just as often.

  • Old Sheepshead Hand

    There’s a very simple solution, pre-internet, and now in the Internet era that so many people fail to follow. Just say NO. Scam or otherwise. Do not be entreated. Especially at your private residence. That’s trespassing. Nothing legit should solicit you. You should only seek, not be found.

    This also goes for charities too. Sorry but that’s how you avoid scams. Happy Holidays!

  • http://www.nedberke.com Ned Berke

    Perhaps saying “hold on,” going back inside, getting your cell phone, and snapping a photo of their face might also help. Of course, if they’re a criminal of the violent nature, this can also get you hurt.

  • nolastname

    There is also a lot of of phone fraud. Accessing accounts and adding themselves on, picking up the up grade and changing your info. 
    There are quite a few bogus 10 dollar bills going around Nostrand Avenue also.
    Several in the last few days. Probably more I don’t know of.

  • Flatbush Depot

    Sounds like what the Ghostbusters did at the beginning of Ghostbusters II.

  • winson

    i just got a call from an “energy saver company” saying I can save money if I switch and give some personal information. so pathetic

  • Anonymous

    I called 911, the police were as useful as tits on a bull.

  • Anonymous

    k2

  • Animo916

    I get these calls all the time.  What’s funny about it is, I am a rep for an ESCO.  As such, I can tell you that I get a kick out these people’s responses when I ask if they’d like me to switch them to my service…..

    If any are truly interested in saving money on their utilities, feel free to email me at … GetAmbitEnergy at aol.com

    On another note, I constantly get unsolicited calls from sources claiming to be able to lower my interest rates on my credit cards.  They even have a prompt that says press 3 to be removed from our calling list, but, the calls keep coming.  On occasions I have gotten their rep on the phone but as soon as I mention anything that looks like I am questioning their integrity, they hang up.  Even called them directly and got same response when I said to take me off their list.  They were off the phone before I even finished talking.
     

  • http://www.shreddingaustin.com/ shredding Austin

    There is a reason why these ill-minded people are called ‘artists’ for they have the ability to con and access our private information. Scams and potential fraud can happen anytime, anywhere and this is why we should never let our guards down. By reading informative pieces like this, we will be educated in numerous ways as to how we can prevent ending up as scam victims and hopefully, better equip ourselves and not share too much information next time.

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